Special guardianship orders
Special guardianship orders

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

  • Special guardianship orders
  • Special guardianship orders
  • The power to make a special guardianship order
  • Power to make an order of the court's own initiative
  • Conditions and directions
  • Criteria for making a special guardianship order

Special guardianship orders

A special guardianship order (SGO) is an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child's special guardian. It has been described as 'a half-way house' between residence orders and adoption orders. The concept of special guardianship relates to the exercise of parental responsibility and not to parenthood.

Special guardianship is a private law order but it is available in both private and public law proceedings and will be considered as one of the options for a child in care proceedings.

Note that when considering an SGO in the context of care proceedings, the Family Justice Council has issued interim guidance on special guardianship, with the approval of the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane. The primary purpose of the interim guidance is to address cases where an extension to the statutory 26-week time limit is sought in order to assess potential special guardians more fully within public law children proceedings, and is in response to some of the issues identified by Sir James Munby in Re P-S (Children). See News Analysis: Family Justice Council issues interim guidance on special guardianship.

An SGO gives non-parents a more permanent legal status than they would have if they were named in a child arrangements order (CAO) as a person with whom the child is to live (ie