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Legal News | 11.06.24

Prohibited Steps Order

Prohibited Steps Order – what kind of behaviour can these orders address?

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

The Family Court has the power to make a Prohibited Steps Order by virtue of Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. If there is a dispute as to what course of action is in the best interests of a child, the Court can use this order to prevent one parent or care provider exercising a particular element of their parental responsibility.

Who can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?
Anyone who has parental responsibility for a child can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order so this could be a parent, a guardian (or special guardian) or someone named under an existing Child Arrangements Order.

What type of decisions can be addressed by a Prohibited Steps Order?
A few of the common examples that the Family Court have had to address in the past are as follows:
• What educational arrangements are in the best interests of a child;
• Whether one parent should be permitted to take a child abroad;
• Whether a parent should be permitted to move to a new area with a child (whether that be within the United Kingdom or internationally);
• Whether a child should be prevented from coming into contact with an individual who potentially poses a risk;
• Whether it is appropriate to prevent certain medical treatment from being carried out on a child.

How will the Court deal with an application for a Prohibited Steps Order?
The Court will use the Welfare Checklist to help determine whether the disputed issue really is in the best interests of the child. The Welfare Checklist is contained within Section 1 (3) of the Children Act 1989. The Welfare Checklist is a list of everything a court must consider when considering these applications. The Checklist includes the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child, educational, emotional, and physical needs of the child and any harm suffered or potential harm to be suffered by the child, to name but a few. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does give you an idea of what the Court will consider when dealing with these applications.

How we can help
The Family team at Wansbroughs have significant experience in this area of law and have an excellent record of successfully pursuing and defending such applications.  If you, or someone you know, requires further information regarding a Prohibited Steps Order or assistance with any other family dispute, please do get in touch with our Family team.