TN 83 (11-23)

GN 00306.025 Lord Mansfield Rule

A. Policy — application of rule

1. General

Many States apply the Lord Mansfield Rule, which bars the mother of the child and her legal husband at the time the child was conceived or born from giving testimony that might prove that the child is illegitimate, i.e., that the child is the natural child of a man other than the husband.

If applicable State law does not permit introduction of such evidence, SSA will not accept it for purposes of determining the child's status under State law. However, the statements of the mother and her legal husband may furnish leads to other competent evidence which SSA may use in rebutting the presumption of legitimacy.

2. Competence to Testify in Paternity Proceedings

In some States, a married woman can testify concerning the nonaccess of her husband in proceedings to establish the paternity of her child. However, if the State applies the Lord Mansfield Rule in proceedings relating to property rights, SSA cannot accept statements from the mother under the State law provisions of the acts.

3. When Rule Does Not Apply

The Lord Mansfield Rule does notapply in determining the status of a child under the invalid ceremonial marriage provisions (GN 00306.090 ff.) or section 216(h)(3) of the Act (GN 00306.100 ff.).

B. Policy — testimony makes child legitimate by later marriage

In some cases the testimony of the mother and/or her legal husband may tend to show that the child is not the child of her husband at the time of conception, but tends to make the child the legitimate child of the biological father by a marriage that occurred after conception. If such a child cannot be entitled as a stepchild, submit the case to the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) under GN 01010.800 ff. in the absence of a precedent opinion.


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GN 00306.025 - Lord Mansfield Rule - 11/28/2023
Batch run: 11/28/2023