If the family courts are not satisfied that the local authority has reasonable grounds to apply for a Care Order or other type of court order, then a court order will not be granted.
The No Order principle also applies to parents who are not in dispute – although the Children Act 1989 provides for disputes between parents or those with Parental Responsibility and the local authority, it is not necessary to apply for a court order to formalise a child care arrangement if there is no disagreement over a child’s welfare, upbringing or which parent they live with.
Under the Children Act, the court will always rule that no order should be made unless it is in the best interests of the child.
In the case of local authority children’s services, under the No Order principle, Social Services must have reasonable grounds for believing a child is at risk of “significant harm” or has already been subjected to harm – such as physical or sexual abuse or neglect – before applying for a Care Order or Emergency Protection Order.
However, the family courts always place the welfare of the child first – and if a judge considers there are not reasonable grounds for taking a child into care, again no order will be granted and the child will remain living where they are.
In cases where there is a risk of child abuse, the family court may prefer to remove the risk and take action to prevent an abuser having contact with a child, rather than remove a child from an otherwise loving home. This might apply in cases where the partner of a parent has been convicted or is guilty of domestic violence or child abuse.
Duncan Lewis can advise parents, guardians or carers on the No Order principle and on family court decisions where no order is granted – including any steps that the local authority might take in the future regarding a Care Order.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any matters involving Social Services and the No Order principle.
Duncan Lewis is one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including child care law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for child care cases, including help with the costs of applying for court orders or challenging court orders if a client is on benefits or has a low income.
In cases where a client is not eligible for public funding (Legal Aid), Duncan Lewis Social Services solicitors offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a case involving legal advice about a No Order family court decision in a child care matter.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis child care lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – including No Order family court decisions – to get in touch as soon as possible before the situation escalates.
Once you have contacted Duncan Lewis, we can act swiftly in any child care matter and put in place measures to help resolve the issues and prevent children being taken into care.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including No Order family court decisions – contact Duncan Lewis Social Services Solicitors on 020 7923 4020.