February 28, 2018
What is a Specific Issue Order?
A Specific Issue Order is made under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (‘CA 1989’). It can be used to determine questions about a child’s upbringing, for example, where a child should go to school (state or private), to change the child’s name/surname, in relation to medical treatment or in relation to a prospective geographical move for the child. A Specific Issue Order will need to be applied for in the event that a person with parental responsibility is not prepared to give consent and thus the Court needs to determine the issue.
When deciding a Specific Issue order, what does the Court need to consider?
In deciding the issue, the child’s welfare will be the court’s paramount consideration. The court must have regard to the welfare checklist, as set out in CA 1989.
When can a Specific Issue Order not be made?
CA 1989 sets out the circumstances in which the court should not make a Specific Issue Order, including when the child is adopted, in the care of the Local Authority and in any way, which denies to the High Court the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction.
How to apply for a Specific Issue Order:
CA 1989 sets out the categories of applicant who can apply for a Specific Issue Order without obtaining permission from the Court to do so. Any person who is not automatically entitled to apply requires the permission of the court to make such an application.
The applicant must file a Form C100.
The procedure governing an application for a Specific Issue Order is contained within the Family Procedure Rule (FPR 2010) Part 12 and in FPR 2010, Practice Direction 12B.
Note that attendance at a Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (‘MIAM’) is compulsory before an application for a Specific Issue Order can be made. There are exemptions to having to attend a MIAM and the relevant exemption must be confirmed in the Form C100. Where the exemption relates to an allegation of abuse, violence or harm, a form C1A must also be filed.
In the case of a Court Hearing:
A First Hearing Dispute Resolution Hearing Appointment (‘FHDRA’) will be listed and the parties to the application are required to attend. The Specific Issue may be resolved at the FHDRA if agreement can be reached. Otherwise, the case will be listed for a Dispute Resolution Hearing (‘DRH’) and then a final hearing, if required.
If you are in need of legal support to guide you through the steps of having a Specific Issue Order created, our Public Access specialist family barristers can help you with all aspects of your case. Read our simple step-by-step guide, then get in touch with our clerks who will discuss your particular needs and match you with the barrister best able to support you as you make arrangements for your children.
By Camilla Wells | Family and Children
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