Children as parties to public law proceedings
Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP
Children as parties to public law proceedings

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP 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 details the circumstances in which a child may be a party to public law children proceedings, the procedure for the appointment of a children's guardian and solicitor, and the guardian's role. 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 be a party to proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction, including wardship (save, rarely, where there is no other suitable respondent), in an abduction case, or on an application for an education supervision order.

An important exception relates to the use of the inherent jurisdiction to deprive a young