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
  • Applicants
  • Respondents
  • Application and issue—day 1
  • Allocation and gatekeeping—day 2
  • Without notice applications
  • Service
  • Cafcass
  • Safeguarding—day 17
  • Acknowledgment
  • First hearing dispute resolution appointment—weeks 5–6
  • Settlement conferences
  • Withdrawal of application
  • Evidence
  • Dispute resolution appointment
  • The court’s responsibilities—private consultations between judge and advocates, recusal and judicial conduct
  • Fact-finding hearing
  • Final hearing

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 • an outline of the requirements regarding prescribed documents • signposting services, parenting plans and public funding • an emphasis on the child in the dispute • details of the requirement for attendance at a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) • the applicants • the respondents • the application • allocation and gatekeeping • without notice applications • safeguarding checks • first hearing dispute resolution appointment • dispute resolution appointment • fact-finding hearing • 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) • a child arrangements order (CAO)—an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following: ◦ with whom a child is to live, spend time