April 20th, 2018
Can I stop the other parent of my child making an application to the court?
This is a question we often hear from clients who have been through the court process on more than one occasion due to repeated applications by their ex-partner in relation to child arrangements. There are orders that the court can make restricting a parent’s ability to make an application under the Children Act 1989. These orders can be granted under Section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989 (CA 1989) and are often referred to in practice as Section 91(14) orders.
The court may make an order under s91(14) that no application for an order under the Act of any specified kind can be made without leave from the court. These orders can be made in both private law and public law proceedings. It does not stop the application, but it means the court has the power to consider the application before deciding whether it is appropriate to grant permission for it to proceed.
These types of orders can be made on the request of either party, or the court can make them on its own motion.
When will the court grant such an order?
The court will not automatically make a s91(14) order upon request. The court has to deem it appropriate to do so. These types of orders are unusual and are only made in exceptional circumstances. Their purpose is to stop someone from making continued and disruptive applications to the court. Usually they are made when one person has already made several previous applications to the court in relation to the child(ren) and these applications have failed. The court has to decide whether the applications were reasonable, or whether they were misplaced.
Ultimately, the court will only make such an order if it is in the best interests of the child(ren), who are subject to the proceedings, to do so. The court will look at whether the child(ren) will be subjected to unnecessary and unacceptable strain unless the order is granted. So even where there have not been previous repeated applications, the court can still decide that a s91(14) order is appropriate, although this is rare.
How long will the order be in place?
These orders do not last forever and will have an end date. The length of the order must be proportionate and balance the strain or harm it is intended to avoid. The court will carefully consider how long it is appropriate for the order to be in place in order to do this. There has been some considerable case law on this, and ultimately each case will turn on its own facts.
These types of order can be extremely helpful and alleviate a lot of stress and unnecessary potential cost in terms of legal fees. If you are having trouble in relation to arrangements for your child(ren) and want to discuss possible s91(14) orders or any other types of orders under the Children Act 1989, then please give us a call on 01908 262680.
Having obtained her A Levels from the Royal Latin School in Buckingham, Rebecca Stewart went on to obtain a Legal Secretary Diploma through Pitmans Training and immediately following qualification secured a role at Hawkins Family Law. Following that she discovered her true ambition lay in becoming a Legal Executive specialising in Family Law.In 2012 Rebecca enrolled at Cilex Law School and by 2015 had completed all her level 3 exams, achieving distinctions in 3 of these modules, and is now an Associate Member of Cilex. Rebecca is now working towards her level 6 qualifications and is now able to act as a trainee Legal Executive under the supervision of the Directors of Hawkins Family Law.
Hawkins Family Law fields 'a very professional team that delivers a high-class service and has strength-in-depth from senior to junior level'. Managing director and team head Jo Hawkins provides 'clear and accurate advice and moral support through often testing times for her clients; she focuses on deriving the best long-term outcome for her client and other parties'. The practice has particular strength financial matters, including divorce and ToLATA proceedings. Other key figures include Loraine Davenport, who has strong collaborative law expertise and handles complex children cases and high-net-worth ancillary relief matters; Annabel Hayward, who focuses on complex financial provision and co-habitation matters; and Stacey St Clair.
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What the team is known for
Boutique family law firm that punches above its weight in terms of high-value and complex matrimonial finance instructions relating to business assets, pensions and substantial property portfolios, including assisting with the handling of assets abroad. Also represents clients in the negotiation of wealth protection agreements and private law childcare arrangements. Fields a team trained in collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution.
An impressed client says: "The team's personal service and individual care is a great asset,"adding that the lawyers are "always available to assist and understand the occasional need for immediate advice and guidance, providing a very reassuring service."
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