Children as parties to public law proceedings
Children as parties to public law proceedings

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

  • Children as parties to public law proceedings
  • Specified proceedings
  • Proceedings under FPR 2010, Pt 14
  • Consequences of a child being a party
  • Appointment of a children’s guardian
  • Appointment of a solicitor
  • The role of the children’s guardian
  • Conflicts
  • Departing from the children’s guardian’s recommendation

This Practice Note provides guidance on the circumstances in which children may be made parties to public law proceedings and deals with the procedure for the appointment of a children's guardian and solicitor as well as the guardian's role and potential conflict of interest scenarios. It also sets out the position where the court may depart from a guardian's recommendation and where a solicitor may act for a child in the absence of a guardian, including where the child is not able to give instructions.

A child may be made be made a party in the following types of proceedings:

  1. in ‘specified proceedings’, as defined by section 41(6) of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989), where the party status of the child will be automatic—see: Specified proceedings

  2. in proceedings to which Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 14 applies, ie applications in adoption, placement and related proceedings, where the court must appoint a children's guardian for a child who is the subject of, and a party to, the proceedings—see: Part 14 proceedings

See also the table set out in FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 12.3 as to the respondents to children proceedings generally.

In contrast, in most private law proceedings, for example an application under ChA 1989, s 8, the child will not be a party to the proceedings. A child will also generally not

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