Child Arrangements Programme—the procedure for section 8 applications
Child Arrangements Programme—the procedure for section 8 applications

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Child Arrangements Programme—the procedure for section 8 applications
  • Section 8 orders
  • The Child Arrangements Programme
  • Orders in private children proceedings
  • Signposting services, parenting plans and public funding
  • The child in the dispute
  • Attendance at a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM)
  • Overriding objective
  • Key welfare principles
  • Jurisdiction
  • more

Family proceedings are governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955. The rules in respect of private law proceedings relating to children are largely contained in FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, Pt 12 and the accompanying FPR 2010, PD 12B, the Child Arrangements Programme (CAP).

The CAP is designed to assist families to reach safe and child-focused agreements for their child, where possible out of the court setting. If parents/families are unable to reach agreement, and a court application is made, the CAP encourages swift resolution of the dispute through the court. The basic structure of the CAP consists of:Family Procedure Rules 2010, PD 12B, para 1.1

  1. an outline of the requirements regarding prescribed documents

  2. signposting services, parenting plans and public funding

  3. an emphasis on the child in the dispute

  4. details of the requirement for attendance at a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM)

  5. the applicants

  6. the respondents

  7. the application

  8. allocation and gatekeeping

  9. without notice applications

  10. safeguarding checks

  11. first hearing dispute resolution appointment

  12. dispute resolution appointment

  13. fact-finding hearing

  14. final hearing

Section 8 orders

A section 8 order means any of the orders that the court can make under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989), including any order varying or discharging such an order. Under ChA 1989, s 8 the court can make:Children Act 1989, s 8(1)

  1. a child arrangements order (CAO)—an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following:

    1. with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact, and

    2. when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person

  2. a prohibited steps order—an order