Understanding Public and Family Law Proceedings

If Social Services believe that a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm they can apply to the Court for a care order.

There are other ways they can act to ensure the safety of a child.

  • Requesting that a child does not come into contact with a certain person,
  • Agreeing with the parent that the local authority will look after the child,
  • Taking the child into police protection,
  • Applying for an interim care order.

The Court can make the following final orders:

  • Care Order. The Local Authority will have parental responsibility for the child and can override the wishes of a parent. This may include placing the child in long-term foster care or placing the child for adoption.
  • Supervision Order. The child will remain at home but the local authority will supervise the care of the child.
  • Residence/Contact Order.
  • Special Guardianship Order. This can be made in favour of a person other than a parent. It is a long-term order and cannot be revoked by a parent unlike a Residence Order.

Orders can be made in favour of persons other than parents. Grandparents and other family members, for example, may wish to be involved in proceedings or considered as a long term carer for the child.

I am an experienced Family Law barrister with detailed knowledge of making and resisting such applications. If you wish to instruct me under the Direct Access scheme please contact me.