Margaret Parr, 7 Harrington Street Chambers
Pre-Proceedings is an area which merits closer scrutiny and improvements by all those involved in the family justice system to ensure that children of families in cases which can and should be diverted from the Court system, are successfully diverted from the Court system at a time when applications for public law orders continue to rise.
It is argued that effective use of the pre-proceedings phase to ensure that children and families are properly supported, that change is made and maintained and that all family members able to support and assist the children are identified and assessed could reduce the number of applications for public law orders coming before the Court or at the very least ensure that those applications which still do need to be made are supported by the best evidence to assist the Court and reduce delay.
The use of section 20 accommodation is then considered in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Williams . It is argued that careful adherence to those principles set out by Lady Hale in Williams allow the pitfalls of improper use of section 20 to be avoided, such pitfalls most conveniently categorised as (1) Separation at birth without PPO or Court Order without delegation or questionable delegation of PR, (2) Retention of the child and (3) Stagnation.
The full article will be published in the February issue of Family Law.
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