Court rules in favour of father who wants his 16-year-old child vaccinated but whose ex-wife opposes

SINGAPORE: A court docket has dominated in favour of a person who wants his 16-year-old daughter to be vaccinated, but who faces opposition from his unvaccinated ex-wife.

However, the father of {the teenager} was ordered to pay his ex-wife court docket prices of S$2,000 as he allowed their daughter to get her first COVID-19 jab whereas court docket proceedings have been ongoing.

In a judgment obtained by CNA on Tuesday (Apr 26), District Judge Kenneth Yap gave full weight to the child’s desire to be vaccinated, saying that she got here to her determination in “an informed and reasoned manner”.

He added that the implication of the vaccination-differentiated secure administration measures on unvaccinated people is “extremely significant”.

The father, 49, is a British citizen and Singapore everlasting resident, whereas the mom of the child is a 53-year-old Singaporean. They have been married in 2003 and had their daughter in 2005. The man efficiently filed for divorce in 2015, and has since remarried.


Their daughter is now 16 and finding out in Singapore, and her dad and mom have joint custody of her. According to her father, there was no subject in her care preparations till the difficulty of whether or not the teenager ought to obtain the COVID-19 vaccines.

The lady’s father filed an utility to the Family Justice Courts in October, looking for an order for his child to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine upon her consent.

The father’s place was that it was in his daughter’s greatest curiosity to obtain the vaccine, particularly in view of the Government’s coverage of residing with the virus and the hike in quantity of COVID-19 circumstances in Singapore on the time.

The man, who was represented by lawyer Chung Ting Fai, exhibited varied information articles and advisories from authorities companies that the COVID-19 vaccine is secure to be used in adolescents.

He stated that his daughter herself wished to be vaccinated, attaching a handwritten be aware from her the place she stated she needed the jab for 2 causes: To forestall herself from falling significantly sick if she contracts the virus, and to socialize along with her buddies and journey abroad comparable to to go to her grandparents.

The lady was additionally discovered to be medically match to proceed with the vaccine, with no earlier allergic reactions to vaccines or medicine nor medical situations that might forestall her from taking it.


The mom argued that joint parental consent is required for his or her daughter to obtain the jab, as she is below 21, and there was no foundation for her ex-husband to permit the child to make her personal determination in this.

She cited the attainable antagonistic results of the vaccine, exhibiting articles and movies reporting on the unwanted effects of COVID-19 jabs, together with for adolescents.

She argued that there was no want for her daughter to be vaccinated as the danger of vaccine harm or dying is greater than the danger of her falling sick if she contracted the virus.

The mom herself was unvaccinated, adopting a wait-and-see place for a greater resolution or therapy to floor in the close to future, court docket paperwork said.

She discovered that her daughter “does not have sufficient maturity or deep understanding of the issues in relation to the possible side effects of the vaccination”, and asserted that the teenager was “under pressure to be vaccinated” in order that she might journey to the United Kingdom along with her father and his spouse and new child for Christmas.

She stated there was no purpose to put her daughter in danger of vaccine unwanted effects particularly when her “sole motivation to be vaccinated is to socialise and travel for leisure”.

The lady, who was represented by Ms Alina Sim from Axis Law, hooked up a medical report the place a health care provider stated the teenager had a excessive stage of innate immunity and that the weighing of dangers and advantages didn’t justify her taking the vaccine.


Even although court docket proceedings have been ongoing, the lady obtained her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Nov 5, with out her mom’s information or consent.

Her father had accompanied her and given his consent for her to take the jab, and his daughter later fell sick with a headache, sore throat and fever. She consulted a health care provider and examined detrimental for COVID-19, returning to highschool three days after creating signs.

An order was made at a subsequent case convention to restrain each dad and mom from permitting the child to proceed with the second dose or booster shot pending the court docket end result.

A lawyer appointed by the court docket to behave because the child’s consultant discovered that the lady had a superb relationship with each her dad and mom but didn’t agree along with her mom’s stand on vaccination.

She would stay silent if her mom spoke to her about it, and accepted that her mom was coming from a place of love and concern for her well being and wellbeing.

She stated everybody in her class had been vaccinated, with nobody struggling antagonistic results, and that her lack of vaccination had impacted her social life. She additionally wished to go to her household in the UK and wanted to get vaccinated as journey restrictions had been lifted for vaccinated folks.

She believed that her sickness post-vaccination was unrelated to the jab because it occurred 10 days later, and feared that her liberties may be additional restricted over time.


In a judgment dated Dec 3, Judge Yap stated the query of whether or not COVID-19 vaccinations are justified for any explicit particular person is “as difficult as it is divisive”. 

“It is a decision made without the fullness of information and time, simply because there is no luxury as to either in the midst of the most severe health crisis faced by mankind over the last century,” he stated. 

He stated that there are “truths as well as misperceptions on both sides of the debate”. Those towards vaccination, such because the child’s mom, level to the unknowns “inherent in rushing a vaccine through development and delivery, without the usual testing and observation that guarantee safety for human consumption”.

Those in favour of vaccination level to statistics exhibiting that antagonistic results of the vaccine are statistically restricted, whereas the profit in phrases of lowered threat of an infection and decreased adversity of end result is clearly demonstrated even amongst younger adults and youngsters, stated Judge Yap.

“This debate has divided society and family alike because the choice is an extremely personal one, given that it may quite literally make a difference between life and death for the individual,” he stated. 

“As the choice is ultimately a personal one, to my mind, the courts should be chary to override the views of a sufficiently mature child, unless such a decision is demonstrably made in error and/or carries a substantial risk of death or serious injury to the child,” stated Judge Yap.

In this case, the 16-year-old child has been assessed by the court-appointed child consultant to be “intelligent and well-informed”, clearly cognisant of the dangers and advantages of vaccination, stated the choose.

He stated one should contemplate the developmental impression on youngsters rising up below the shadow of the pandemic, with a discount in social exercise and frustrations that come up from being cooped up at house.

“It should also be borne in mind that the impact of restrictions may be greater for children, who feel denied of novel experiences that adults otherwise dismiss as commonplace,” stated Judge Yap.

“For instance, the longing of a teenager to join friends in outings to malls, cinemas and restaurants is not a frivolity to be dismissed. It is a legitimate yearning which has been given full expression by the child in this case.”

He added that the implication of vaccine-differentiated measures is “extremely significant”, with the need to take away such restrictions uppermost in the child’s thoughts.

“The mother believes these to be immature and frivolous considerations, taken up in the flush of youth, in ignorance of the unknown long-term impact of vaccination,” stated Judge Yap. 

“Respectfully, I did not agree. Given the extent of the differentiated restrictions cited above, their combined impact on the social and developmental needs of a child should not be understated or ignored. To my mind, the child has appreciated the risks and weighed them against the importance of her personal liberty.”

He stated it was the court docket’s honest hope that each dad and mom would resume their spirit of cooperation after this court docket determination was made. The mom doesn’t intend to attraction.

The child’s father accepted that he acted in breach of the joint custody order by permitting his daughter to take her first jab whereas court docket proceedings have been ongoing. Because of this, the choose awarded prices of S$2,000 to the lady’s mom.

Court rules in favour of father who wants his 16-year-old child vaccinated but whose ex-wife opposes

Lydia Lam

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