Childcare Court Proceedure

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Court Procedure

Child law cases are split into two categories: Private Law Cases & Public Law Cases. We deal with the Court Procedure for both types below.

To find out more see our frequently asked questions about the Court Procedure below or contact us to make a free half hour appointment on 0800 1071 209. Alternatively you can click here to arrange an appointment at our Nottingham Office with one of our Child Law Experts.

Private Law Cases Public Law Cases
Parental Responsibility Applications Care Proceedings
Residence Applications Supervision Orders
Financial Applications (such as maintenance) Adoption Proceedings
Contact Applications Contact with Children in Care
Emergency Protection Orders

Guide to Private Law Court Procedure

There is now a single Family Court assigned to deal with all Children Act matters. Once your application is received by the Court your case will be allocated to be heard either before Magistrates, a District Judge, a Circuit Judge or High Court Judge.
There would initially be a “First Hearing Dispute Resolution Hearing”. This is where directions are given as to how the matter is going to proceed. For example, the court may direct that a report should be prepared by CAFCASS before any decisions are made. This is also where the initial administrative issues are dealt with and the Judge may have questions regarding the Application.

The Court would then decide the matter should be listed as a Fact Finding Hearing, Dispute Resolution Appointment, Final Hearing or simply a further directions appointment.

At the Final Hearing and/or Finding of Fact Hearing, you would be expected to give evidence based on your statement and any witnesses would do the same. It is likely you would be cross-examined by the representative from the other party and vice versa. Matters are usually resolved before the final hearing.

Click here for a step-by-step guide to the court procedure in private law cases.

You can apply back to the Court to have an Order varied. You do however always have to be aware of costs. Even if you are legally aided, you have to justify that an application is necessary before you will be granted Legal Aid.
The Court will charge a fee for dealing with an application that has been filed. These may not be payable if you are in receipt of a limited income. If you are eligible for Legal Aid you are likely to be able to get a “fee exemption” which is claimed on a special form when you make the application.

The main fees the court charges for a Child Arrangement Order, Prohibited Steps Order and/or Specific Issue Order are £215.00.

Check through any statements prepared on your behalf carefully. Ensure you are familiar with the contents

• Check through any statements that have been prepared by the other party and make written notes on any point you disagree with. Make an appointment with your solicitor before the hearing to go through these;
• If you are the party making the application, make sure you are familiar with the contents of the Application;
• Ensure that you have thought about/made arrangements for if the application is granted. For instance, if you are making an application for a child to live with you, make sure your accommodation is suitable, that you have thought about arrangements for the child’s education etc.
• Ensure that you have provided your solicitor with any previous Court Orders made regarding the children or between you and the other party.
• If you require disabled access to the court or need an interpreter make sure your solicitor is aware in good time so that this can be organised.
• A court is not a suitable place for a child. Ensure that you have made childcare arrangements for the day of the hearing.

Guide to Public Law Court Procedure

There is now a single Family Court assigned to deal with all Children Act matters. Once your application is received by the Court your case will be allocated to be heard either before Magistrates, a District Judge, a Circuit Judge or High Court Judge. Wherever possible the Courts try and maintain judicial continuity.
No, in cases of public law the Local Authority who is making the application usually meets the costs of the Court Fees.
This would depend upon the type of Application made and what decisions are made at the first hearing. For further guidance see our Overview of the Court Procedure in Public Child Law Cases.
• Check through any statements prepared on your behalf carefully. Ensure you are familiar with the contents
• Check through any statements that have been prepared by the other party and make written notes on any point you disagree with. Make an appointment with your solicitor before the hearing to go through these;
• If you are the party making the application, make sure you are familiar with the contents of the Application;
• Ensure that you have thought about/made arrangements for if the application is granted. For instance, if you are making a Residence Application, make sure your accommodation is suitable, that you have thought about arrangements for the child’s education etc.
• Ensure that you have provided your solicitor with any previous Court Orders made regarding the children or between you and the other party.
• If you require disabled access to the court or need an interpreter make sure your solicitor is aware in good time so that this can be organised.
• A court is not a suitable place for a child. Ensure that you have made childcare arrangements for the day of the hearing.
You can apply back to the Court to have an Order varied. You do however always have to be aware of costs. Even if you are legally aided, you have to justify that an application is necessary before you will be granted Legal Aid.
Get in touch with someone from our Child Law team in order to book a free 1/2 hour appointment out our Nottingham Office.

Contact our Child Law Team

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