Q&As

A local authority wishes to apply to change the surname of a child who is subject to a care order made under Part IV of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). The child’s parents cannot be located and therefore, cannot be asked for their consent. Would the application to change the child’s surname be made within ChA 1989, Pt IV proceedings, or as a separate application and in what form?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 11/06/2019

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A local authority wishes to apply to change the surname of a child who is subject to a care order made under Part IV of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). The child’s parents cannot be located and therefore, cannot be asked for their consent. Would the application to change the child’s surname be made within ChA 1989, Pt IV proceedings, or as a separate application and in what form?

When a parent is considering changing a child’s surname, they should consult with any other person who holds parental responsibility, regardless of whether a child arrangements order is in place or whether the other parent has any contact with the child. If there is any dispute about the proposed change in surname, the matter should be referred to the court for determination. ‘No disputed registration or change should be made unilaterally’ (Dawson v Wearmouth). If there is a child arrangements order in place, a freestanding application should be made under section 13 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). If there is no child arrangements order in place, the application would be for a specific issue order under ChA 1989, s 8 using form C100.

ChA 1989, s 33(7) provides (inter alia) that:

'While a care order is in force with respect to a child, no person may—

(a) cause the child to be known by a new surname…

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