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These Rules come into force on 1 October 2007 and amend the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 (the 1991 Rules) in relation to (a) the coming into force of sections 6 and 7 of the Children and Adoption Act 2006 (the 2006 Act); (b) the coming into force of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (the 2005 Act); and (c) the communication of information relating to proceedings.
The Children and Adoption Act 2006
Section 6 of the 2006 Act amends section 16 of the Children Act 1989 (the 1989 Act) to, inter alia, make provision for a family assistance order to direct the officer appointed under that order to prepare a report to the court on such matters relating to an order under section 8 of the 1989 Act as the court may require. Section 7 of the 2006 Act inserts a new section 16A in the 1989 Act to make provision for an officer of the service or a Welsh family proceedings officer to make a risk assessment in specified circumstances where he suspects that a child is at risk of harm.
Rule 7 amends rule 4.1 of the 1991 Rules to insert the new defined terms 'family assistance order report' and 'risk assessment'.
Rules 8, 9, 12, 13 and 14 amend various rules in the 1991 Rules to ensure that those rules apply to officers of the service or Welsh family proceedings officers preparing family assistance order reports or risk assessments. Rule 10 inserts a new rule 4.11AA in the 1991 Rules to make provision for additional powers and duties to apply to such officers.
Rule 11 inserts a new rule 4.13A in the 1991 Rules to ensure that all rules which apply to, or in respect of, local authority officers preparing section 7 reports apply equally to, or in respect of, local authority officers preparing family assistance order reports.
Rule 15 inserts a new rule 4.17AA in the 1991 Rules to make provision for service of risk assessments by the court. Rule 22 amends the standard form of family assistance order (form C42) inter alia to provide that, where there are no proceedings pending, an officer of the service or a Welsh family proceedings officer who makes a risk assessment has the ability to apply to the court to revive the previous proceedings and to consider the risk assessment. Rule 24 makes a consequential amendment in relation to relation to family assistance orders.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005
Rules 5, 16 to 19 and 23 make minor amendments to the 1991 Rules that are consequential upon the 2005 Act coming into force. These rules amend terms and references in line with terms and references used in the 2005 Act.
Communication of information in relation to proceedings
Rule 20 amends the table in rule 10.20A(3) of the 1991 Rules to enable a party to communicate any information relating to proceedings caught by rule 10.20A to an appeal tribunal under section 20 of the Child Support Act 1991 (the 1991 Act), a McKenzie Friend, a lay adviser or the Secretary of State; and to an adoption panel to enable it to discharge its functions. A definition of an adoption panel is inserted in to paragraph (5) of rule 10.20A. Rule 21 amends rule 10.21A of the 1991 Rules to enable a party to communicate any information relating to ancillary relief proceedings to an appeal tribunal under section 20 of the 1991 Act, a McKenzie Friend, a lay adviser or the Secretary of State.