The no order principle
The no order principle

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

  • The no order principle
  • The no order principle
  • When does the no order principle apply?
  • Applying the principle
  • The order

This Practice Note explains the no order principle contained in section 1(5) of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). It explains when the principle applies in private children proceedings and how the courts have applied it.

The no order principle

When the court is considering whether or not to make one or more orders under ChA 1989 with respect to a child, it must not make the order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.

This provision is intended to discourage unnecessary court orders being made; by restricting orders to those cases where they are necessary to resolve a specific problem, it is thought that this should reduce conflict and promote parental cooperation and agreement.

Making 'no order' is a positive decision taken on welfare grounds.

When does the no order principle apply?

The principle applies where the court is considering whether to make one or more orders under ChA 1989. It therefore has no direct application in proceedings outside ChA 1989, such as wardship proceedings. It would appear that there is nothing to stop the court taking a similar approach in other proceedings concerning the child's welfare if it chooses to do so.

It does not apply to applications for financial provisions for a child under ChA 1989, Sch 1.

For further information, see:

Clarke Hall & Morrison on Children >

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