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2014年7月19日 (土)

DNA父子訴訟 民法の枠組み重視した最高裁

The Yomiuri Shimbun
‘Presumption of paternity’ an old rule; should it still apply in a DNA-test era?
DNA父子訴訟 民法の枠組み重視した最高裁

Even in cases in which blood relationships are disproved through DNA testing, legal paternity cannot be revoked. A ruling the Supreme Court handed down Thursday drew this conclusion.
 DNA鑑定で血縁が否定された場合でも、法律上の父子関係は無効にできない。最高裁は判決でそう結論づけた。

This is a judicial decision that gives great weight to the framework regarding the paternity of a child as stipulated by the Civil Code.
 父子関係について定めた民法の枠組みを重視した司法判断である。

A married woman had an affair with another man, becoming pregnant and having a baby. As a result of DNA analysis, it was subsequently determined that the child’s biological father is the man with whom the woman had the extramarital liaison. Under the circumstances, the litigation in this case was initiated by the wife, who demanded that the parental relationship between the child and her husband be revoked.
 妻が夫と婚姻中に、別の男性と交際して妊娠・出産した。DNA鑑定の結果、子の血縁上の父親が交際男性であると確認された。妻側が夫に対し、父子関係の取り消しを求めたのが今回の訴訟だ。

The Civil Code states that a child conceived during marriage “shall be presumed to be the child of the husband,” a stipulation known as the rule of the presumption of paternity for the legitimacy of children. This exists for the purpose of legally clarifying the child support obligations of a father.
 民法には「妻が婚姻中に妊娠した子は、夫の子と推定する」という嫡出推定の規定がある。扶養義務を負う父親を法的に明確にし、子の保護を図るのが目的だ。

The Supreme Court stated in its decision on this case and two others, “Even though it is evident that there exists no blood relationship, the necessity of retaining the stability of the child’s status in the eyes of the law never ceases.”
 最高裁は、「血縁関係がないことが明らかであっても、子の身分関係の法的安定を保持する必要性はなくならない」と指摘した。

The verdict underscores the top court’s stance in favor of strictly applying the rule of the presumption of paternity concerning the legitimacy of children.
嫡出推定の規定を厳格に適用する姿勢を示したものだ。

As for judicial precedent, exceptions to the presumption of paternity have been restricted to cases in which it is obvious that a married couple had no sexual relations during the relevant period, under such circumstances as the husband being in prison at the time of his wife’s pregnancy or the husband staying overseas and living separately from the wife for a long period of time.
 従来の判例では、嫡出推定の例外は、妻の妊娠時に夫が服役したり、海外に長期滞在したりして、夫婦の性交渉がないことが明らかな場合に限定してきた。

Upholding the Civil Code

The Supreme Court’s verdict in these cases should be interpreted as its judgment that the results of DNA tests cannot lead to denying the rule of the presumption of paternity, in light of the spirit of the Civil Code.
 最高裁は今回、民法の趣旨を踏まえ、DNA鑑定では嫡出推定を覆せないと判断したと言える。

The lower courts in these cases had acknowledged the annulment of the paternal relationship. The judgment by the top court is diametrically opposite the lower courts’ rulings.
However, the Supreme Court decision was a narrow one, with two of the five judges in charge of the cases supporting the lower courts’ verdicts.
 1、2審は父子関係の取り消しを認めた。最高裁はこれと正反対の結論を導いたが、5人の裁判官のうち、2人が1、2審を支持するという際どい判決だった。

The children in the cases reside with their biological fathers, living their lives in a new environment.
 今回のケースでは、子は血縁上の父と同居し、新たな環境で生活を送っている。

There is some merit to the dissenting view that allowing a man who has no genetic relationship to a child to have the legal relationship of paternity could have an adverse psychological and emotional impact on the child during the process of his or her development.
 「血縁関係のない人と法律上の父子関係を残すことは、子の成育にとって心理的、感情的な不安定要因を与えるのではないか」と疑問を投げかけた少数意見にも、うなずける面がある。

Another minority view noted that it is necessary to “harmonize the rule of presumption of paternity on the one hand and desires to have blood relations reflected in family registers on the other.”
 別の少数意見は「嫡出推定の規定と、血縁関係を戸籍にも反映させたいと願う心情を調和させる必要がある」と言及している。

It is worth noting that the presumption of paternity was established in the Meiji era, long before the advent of today’s DNA testing technology. The related legal system has failed to keep up with the progress of testing technology, becoming inadequate for the realities of fatherhood issues. It may be that the time has come to discuss the advisability of the rule of the presumption of paternity under the Civil Code.
 そもそも、嫡出推定の規定は、明治時代に設けられ、DNA鑑定を想定していない。鑑定技術の進歩に法制度が追いつかず、社会の実情に沿わなくなっている。民法の嫡出推定について、議論すべき時期に来ているのではないか。

In recent years, DNA testing has become less expensive, so that ordinary people can have tests done fairly easily. But at the same time, anxiety has been rising over the accuracy of the testing due to a sharp rise in the number of businesses entering the field of DNA testing.
 近年、DNA鑑定の費用が安価になり、一般の人が利用しやすくなっている。一方で、参入業者の急増とともに、鑑定の精度に対する懸念も生じている。

There is a strong body of opinion that relations of mutual trust between parents and children can be built even in the absence of biological relations if the parents are affectionate with the children.
 血縁関係がなくても、愛情を注ぐことで、親子の信頼関係は築けるという声も根強い。

Discussions about the wisdom of redesigning a family system in connection with such paternity issues should be encouraged with top priority being placed on ensuring the happiness of the children involved.
 子どもの幸福を最優先に、制度の在り方を考えたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 18, 2014)

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