Public children—contact with looked after children

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

  • Public children—contact with looked after children
  • The general duty
  • Contact with children in care
  • The court’s general obligations
  • Contact applications—as of right
  • Contact applications—leave requirements
  • Local authority applications about contact with others
  • Application by the child for contact with others
  • The court hearing
  • Contact orders
  • More...

Public children—contact with looked after children

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance has been issued, including by the President of the Family Division, regarding all proceedings in the Family Court in England and Wales during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and until further notice, which profoundly affects normal practice, including requirements for the majority of family hearings to be dealt with remotely. For details about the changes to court processes and procedures during this time, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID–19)—news and resources for family lawyers. In addition, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit provides easy access to news, practical guidance and Q&As from across a number of Practice Areas (subject to subscription). This Practice Note sets out the procedure prior to the pandemic and during this period of disruption to the justice system, practitioners should be aware that local practice may vary.

In Re D-S (contact with children in care: Covid-19), the Court of Appeal acknowledged that during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic a loss of contact may be unavoidable, but if that can to some extent be remedied, that should be attempted where possible and assessed on a case-by-case basis (para [10]). In addition that ‘…ordinary principles governing applications for contact with children in care continue to apply during the Covid-19 pandemic, even though outcomes may well be affected by the practical difficulties that are being faced’ (para [16]). See also News Analysis:

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