Children Act 1989 - Private Law

Section 8 Orders

Under the Act all efforts should be made to resolve problems voluntarily and court orders should only be sought if they will be of positive benefit to the child. Section 8 of the Act details the following Orders:

Residence Orders - May be made by the court because there has been a dispute about the child’s residence, or because there has been a question about the child's welfare, which has required an Order to be made.

Anyone named in a Residence Order as living with the child and caring for them, obtains parental responsibility for them with the making of the Order (Section 12) but they lose it once the Order ends.

Contact Orders – It should be noted that it is the child's right to contact with their parents and not the parents' right. Contact Orders define the arrangements for a child having contact with the person named on the Order. Although usually a parent, contact can also be granted to grandparents or siblings.

Prohibited Steps Orders - restrict parental responsibility. Prohibited Steps Orders prevent the taking of an action that would otherwise be quite reasonably exercised by someone with parental responsibility. For example, if the parent who has the care of a child is concerned that the other may seek to abduct or harm him or her, they may obtain one of these Orders to prohibit the 'absent' parent from having any contact with the child except by prior arrangement and under supervision.

Specific Issue Orders – resolve particular areas of disagreement relating to the exercise of parental responsibility.

Importantly, local authorities cannot apply for or be granted a Section 8 Order; they are a private law Order that would normally be used in family disputes.