Q&As

How will the court approach a situation in relation to a 17-year-old child who wants to make a decision in relation to education which clashes with a person who has parental responsibility for them? How will the court approach the question of Gillick competency?

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Published on LexisPSL on 19/10/2017

The following Family Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How will the court approach a situation in relation to a 17-year-old child who wants to make a decision in relation to education which clashes with a person who has parental responsibility for them? How will the court approach the question of Gillick competency?

Under section 8(1) of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989), a specific issue order means an order giving directions for the purpose of determining a specific question which has arisen, or may arise, in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child. Such an order may be applied for to resolve a dispute regarding among other things a child’s education.

It should be noted however that a specific issue order should not be made in respect of a child who has attained the age of 16 and an order should not be expressed to have effect beyond a child's 16th birthday unless the court is satisfied that the circumstances of the case are exceptional (ChA 1989, ss 9(6)–(7)). If an order is extended beyond or made after the child reached 16, it comes to an end when the child reaches 18: no order can continue beyond the age of 18.

In considering whether to make an order, the child's welfare must be the court's paramount consideration. In relation to contested applications, the court must have regard to the welfare checklist at ChA 1989, s 1(1), (3).

Among the factors to be considered in the welfare checklist is the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of the child’s age and understa

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