chapter  3
The Responsible Father in New Labour’s Legal and Social Policy
ByRichard Collier
Pages 20

This chapter addresses whether, apart from the social responsibilities, there is also a legal duty to care for the elderly imposed on the family. The 'principle of maintaining elderly people in their households' is a feature of the European cultural milieu. Respect for human dignity and the right freely to develop one's personality demand the preservation of the elderly in their family and social environments rather than in institutional settings. The Constitution also addresses issues that concern 'Old Age', which is considered to be a category worthy of social protection guaranteed by the state. In Portugal the Constitution only addresses the issue within the framework of 'social rights' and does not refer to 'family relations' themselves. An adequate analysis of the potential 'duty to care and support' the elderly must clearly determine the boundaries of such a duty, especially with regard to other neighbouring responsibilities.