Overview of Court Process – Private Law

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Guide to the Child Law Court Process – Private Law

If you have any further questions, please give our experienced team a call on (0115) 9247023 who will be more than happy to help.

Private Law

(contact orders, Residence Orders, Parental Responsibility Orders etc)

Please note that this is a guide only and each case is different.

Initial Hearing
After the Applicant (the person who wants to make the Order) files the Order with the court the Court will order a Initial Hearing.

At the initial hearing the Court may decide the following:

  • They may make an Interim Order which is an order that lasts for a short period of time
  • They may grant the Order that has been applied for;
  • They may appoint CAFCASS to prepare a report on the situation;
  • They may decide the case should be transferred to another court
  • They may give other directions about how the case is to proceed, i.e. that there should be a further hearing.
If  CAFCASS have been instructed to prepare a report, they will arrange to see all parties concerned.  They will try and find out as much information as possible about the situation.

It  can help to make a list of all the important issues before meeting with CAFCASS to ensure that they are not forgotten and that things can be discussed in a calm, rational manner.

Before the final hearing CAFCASS will prepare a report which will contain recommendations and what information they have gained from looking at the situation.

Interim Hearings
The court may list an Interim Hearing.  At this hearing the court may:

  • Make a temporary order about where the child should live/who the child should have contact with.
  • They may decide whether any orders made at the previous hearing should be continued.
  • They may make further directions about the filing of reports or further information such as medical reports.
Pre-hearing Review
The Court may hold a pre-hearing review two weeks before the Final Hearing.  In this review the courts will decide how the remaining issues can be dealt with.
Final Hearing
At the hearing you will either be represented by a Solicitor or Barrister.  Before the hearing starts, they may have an informal chat with the representatives of the other person to see whether an agreement can be reached.

If the matter is in agreement then the solicitor/barristers will request that the court makes an Order.

If the matter is not agreed then the hearing will commence and the court will hear from both sides, including the witnesses and experts.  The court makes a decision upon whether or not to grant the application made by the Applicant.

After the Hearing
The parties should comply with whatever Order is made.  If for any reason the Order is not complied with then an application can be made back to the Court for them to look at the matter again, provided there are good enough grounds.
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