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Words/Expression Acronym/AbbreviationDefinition
ACPCSee: Area Child Protection Committee
ADHDSee: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Adoption Needs Panel Panel of LocalAuthority to consider what sort of adoptive placement a child needs, for example, youngest child in family, experienced parents.
AdulterySexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other but one of whom at least is a married person. The sexual intercourse must be voluntary.
AdvocateA barrister or solicitor who provides legal advice and presents arguments on a client's behalf in legal proceedings.
Alcohol AbuseExcess regular drinking
Allocated Social WorkerSocial Worker appointed by LocalAuthority SocialServices department to have case responsibility for children in need.
Allocation HearingOne of the first hearings in public law cases when the court decides which Judge should hear the case and whether to transfer of cases to a higher level of court.
Ancill.Ancillary Relief
Ancillary ReliefCase about how money and property should be shared by a divorcing couple. (Means literally relief ancillary to the divorce suit itself).
ApplicantThe person that is applying to the court for something.
Area Child Protection CommitteeCommittee at LA level to set policy about child protection involving representatives from the police, SS, education etc.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderThis is a condition that effects 3 – 5% of children in the UK and is 3 or 4 times more likely to occur in boys than girls. A child with ADHD is typically unable to concentrate, constantly moves around, and has poor school performance compared with intelligence. Their behavior at home and at school tends to be disruptive. Due to difficulties with impulsive behavior and self control sufferers may have trouble when it come to showing their empathy. Often treated with Ritalin
Autistic Spectrum Disorders Disorders which include verbal and non-verbal comminication problems.
Best Interest PanelLocalAuthority Panel which considers whether adoption is in principle in a child's best interests.
BoundariesTerm often used by social workers to mean ‘ground rules’ for children.
C and FRSee: Child and Family Reporter
CA 1989See: ChildrenAct1989
CAFCASSChildren & Family Court Advisory & Support Service
CAMHSChildren and Adolescent Mental Health Service
CareOrderAn order that places a child in the care of the LA. As a result of a care order the LA acquires PR which in theory it shares with the parents. In practice it puts the LA in the driving seat about any decisions to be made concerning the child’s future and where they should live. Generally but not always this will involve the child being placed away from his or her parents. A final care order can last until a child’s nineteenth birthday unless the court discharges it before that.
Care PlanWhen a LA recommends that a child should be the subject of a care order it must produce a detailed plan telling the court and the other parties what their proposals are for where the child should live, what services / help should be offered to the child and what contact he or she should have with family members (amongst other things). A care plan should be prepared both for interim hearings and for final hearings and a new care plan should be prepared wherever there is an important change from an earlier care plan. Care plans are compulsory as a result of the AdoptionandChildrenAct2002.
Case Management ConferenceThe designated pre trial judge may conduct a case management conference if it appears that such a conference will assist discovery, narrow or define the issues to be tried, or otherwise promote the orderly and expeditious progress of the case. A case management conference shall not, however, ordinarily be conducted after a case is ready for trial.
CausationA hearing when the court decides whether some certain events happened and how they happened. For example whether a child was deliberately injured and by whom.
CGSee: Children’s Guardian and GAL.
ChildAny person under the age of 18.
Child AbductionThe removal or retention of a child across an international border by one parent (or person who has ParentalResponsibility), which is either in contravention of a court order or without the consent of the other parent (or person who has ParentalResponsibility).
Causation Hearing.See: Fact finding hearing.
Child AbuseThe physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment or neglect of children by parents, guardians or others responsible for a child's welfare.
Child and Family Court Advisory and Support ServiceOrganisation employing Guardians and Child and Family Reporters who prepare reports for the court in public and private law cases. www.cafcass.gov.uk
Child and Family ReporterPerson employed by CAFCASS to report to the court in a private law case (when parents or relatives cannot agree where a child should live or who should have contact).
Child in need.Section 17 (10) of the ChildrenAct1989 defines what it means to be a child in need - a child in need of services from the LocalAuthority to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development or to prevent his health or development from being significantly impaired or who is disabled.
ChildrenAct1989The principal act relevant to cases that involve children.
Children and Adolescent Mental Health ServiceCAMHS provide a high-quality specialist and multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessment, treatment, advisory and consultative service for children and adolescents suffering psychiatric disorders, or where behavior, emotional state or development is causing serious concern to themselves or those caring for them. Their client group is defined as children or adolescents from birth to 16 or school leaving age, whichever is the later. http://www.youngminds.org.uk/camhs/
Children PanelPanel of the Law Society. Solicitors who want to specialize in care cases and who want to represent children apply for membership of this panel and have to satisfy the Law Society that they are sufficiently experienced and knowledgeable to call themselves specialists. Children may not be represented by solicitors who are not members of the children panel. http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/professional/accreditationpanels/childrenpanel.law
Child Protection ConferenceAt the conference it is decided what enquiries, assessments and/or invention are needed in respect of a child, including whether to put the child on the child protection register.
Child Protection Conference ReviewReviews the safety, health and development of a child and considers the child protection plan. It is set up to decide whether a child is still at continuing risk of significant harm. It usually takes place within 3 months of the initial conference.
Children’s GuardianIndependent professional appointed by the court to speak on behalf of the child, investigate their family circumstances and history and make recommendations to the court about what should happen to the child in the future. Many Guardians are employed by CAFCASS. A Guardian is usually someone who has had several years experience as a social worker. (See GAL) http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/English/Adults/Care/AdaultsCareFAQs.htm#11
Child Support Agency Set up to deal with financial support for children from parents who have separated. http://www.csa.gov.uk/
Chronic neglectCases in which parents are said to have neglected their children in a number of different ways (e.g. not making sure they go to school or important medical appointments, home unhygienic, not feeding, no routines, etc…) over a period of years.
ChronologyA history of key dates
Circuit JudgeJudge who sits in the County or Crown Court (where they are often called red judges – in the County Court they wear purple). A Circuit Judge is a higher rank than a District Judge and can hear almost any sort of family case. See also HHJ
CJCircuit Judge
CMCCase Management Conference
Committal Hearing at which a court decides whether to send someone to prison for breaking a court order (committed to prison).
ConciliationProcedures vary from court to court. Sometimes an officer from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services (CAFCASS) is on hand at court to meet the parties and help them resolve their difficulties. In every case the court will direct whether expert reports should be ordered, statements filed and further court dates fixed.
Contact CentreA venue usually run by volunteers at which parents (often fathers) can spend time with their children. Contact Centers do not usually supervise contact as such as in one to one supervision but the parent will not be left alone with the child for any significant amount of time. There are a few specialist contact centers (e.g. the Accord and Thomas Coram centers) where contact is more heavily supervised to prevent any risk to the child from e.g. physical or sexual abuse. Contact centers are most often used to get contact back up and running after an interruption or to reassure the non resident parent (e.g. that the other parent will turn up and that child will be safe).
Contact OrderUnder section 8 of the ChildrenAct1989 a Contact order is an order requiring the person with whom a child lives, or is to live, to allow a child to visit or stay with the person named in the order (direct contact), or for that person and the child to have contact with each other by phone, e mail, or letter, (indirect contact).
ContemptSomeone is in contempt if they break a court order. They may also be in contempt if they misbehave in court. Contempt can be punished in a number of ways including prison.
Core AssessmentThis type of assessment is used to address in-depth central issues or needs of a child and further the ability of the care givers to meet these needs and respond to them within the wider family and community context.
Core GroupA group attended by the main professionals responsible for implementing the child protection plan which meets within two weeks of the child protection conference. e.g. Social Worker, Health Visitor.
CPCSee: Child Protection Conference
CPCRSee: Child Protection Conference Review
CSASee: Child Support Agency
CustodyIn older family proceedings custody meant the same as Residence and ParentalResponsibility combined. The person with whom the child lives is now said to have Residence rather than custody of the child, custody suggests a greater degree of day to day control than a Residence order provides. Residence may be shared between two homes.
DAPFSee: Detailed Assessment Publicly Funded Costs.
Decree AbsoluteThe decree from the court to say that a divorce is fully settled. A person may re-marry only after they have received the decree absolute.
Decree NisiA Decree Nisi is the first of two decrees you must have before you are finally divorced and free to re-marry. Having obtained the Decree Nisi you must wait a minimum of six weeks before applying for a Decree Absolute.
DefendantPerson against who court proceedings are brought, in family proceedings they are normally called respondents.
Detailed Assessment Publicly Funded CostsAn order allowing the lawyers advising people in receipt of public funding (legal aid) to obtain their costs from the Legal Services Commission. http://www.legalservices.gov.uk/
Directions HearingA hearing at court to receive directions for the on-going management of a case. Typically, directions will require documentation to be provided by a certain time before the hearing, experts to be instructed, statements to be filed…etc.
Discharge of Care or Supervision OrderAn order bringing an end to a care or supervision order.
DisposalThe second part of a split hearing in public law family cases where the court decides how best deal with the interests of the children and what orders to make, if any, following information provided and facts found at the causation hearing.
District JudgeA type of judge who usually sits in the family proceedings court or county court.
Domestic ViolenceA pattern of controlling and aggressive behavior from one adult, to another within the context of an intimate relationship. It can happen to anyone , and in all kinds of relationships – heterosexual, gay , lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
DJSee: District Judge
Drug AbuseA person abuses drugs when they habitually use drugs as a method of altering their behavior or state of mind for non-medical purposes. Drug abuse and addiction are considered serious social issues that can affect a person's quality of life in terms of motivation and success. It is not uncommon for habitual drug use to strain a person's family relationships and impair work or school performance.
ECHRSee: European Convention of Human Rights
ECtHRSee: European Court of Human Rights
Emergency Protection OrderOrders made under s.44 of the ChildrenAct1989 where, once it is established that they are likely to suffer SignificantHarm, a child may be removed from accommodation or their removal may be prevented. The order also gives the applicant parental responsibility for the child. The making of the order includes the power to exclude a person from, for example, the family home. The order lasts for eight days. http://www.fnf.org.uk/chact/chact5.htm
Emotional AbuseThe emotional mistreatment of a person either actively through words or acts or passively by way of neglect. A person who has been emotionally abused may exhibit a wide range of behavior as a result. This can include low self esteem, problems with attachment, withdrawal, aggression, self harm, depression…etc.
EPOEmergency Protection Order
European Convention of Human Rightshttp://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/CadreListeTraites.htm
European Court of Human Rightshttp://www.echr.coe.int/
Exclusion OrderThis gives the court the power to exclude a person from the home in which a child who is at risk of significant harm is living. A court can include an exclusion requirement as part of the EPO. It is not a separate order to be made on its own account. (CA 1989 s.44A) http://www.fnf.org.uk/chact/chact5.htm
Fact Finding HearingSee Causation Hearing (these are one and the same).
Family Assistance OrderThe Family Assistance Order (FAO) was introduced by the Children Act 1989 to provide social work support to families experiencing difficulties after separation or divorce. The order is usually made where parents are having difficulty reaching agreement over arrangements for their children and it places a duty on social services to provide an officer who will advise, assist and befriend the child. (CA1989 s16)http://www.fnf.org.uk/chact/chact2.htm
Family AssistantSocialServices employee who carries out work with families sometimes supervising contact or helping with skills such as budgeting or basic parenting.
Family Law Act
Family Law Bar AssociationAssociation open to barristers specialising in Family Law.
Family Law ReportsSeries of books published annually containing details of family law cases.
Family PanelA number of magistrates specially appointed to deal with family proceedings form the Family Panel. A justice does not qualify to sit in the Family Proceedings Court unless he or she is a member of the Family Panel. See Section 67 (2) Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980.
Family ProceedingsThe ChildrenAct1989 section 8 (3) defines family proceedings as any matter under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in relation to children and any matters under the following enactments (but not including proceedings on an application for leave under section 100(3))- Parts 1, 11 and 1V of the Children’s Act 1989, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the AdoptionandChildrenAct2002, the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates’ Courts Act 1978;Part 111 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984; the Family Law Act 1996 andsections 11 and 12 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
Family Support WorkerSee: Family assistant.
Family TicketSlang term for a Judge who is allowed to hear family cases.
FatherGenerally, the biological father of a child. If a wife has been artificially inseminated with sperm from a source other than her husband and her husband has consented then her husband shall be treated as the father of the child rather than anyone else.
First Directions AppointmentIn money cases the purpose of the first directions appointment is for the Court to see if any agreement can be reached between the parties and if not to identify the issues in the case and direct what further steps need to be taken to enable the court to make a decision.
FDASee: First Directions Appointment
Financial Dispute ResolutionThe Family Proceedings Rules 1991 states that the FDR will allow the parties in divorce proceedings to discuss and negotiate a final settlement of the matrimonial assets. This meeting is supposed to reduce the conflict around disputes over assets. If a settlement cannot be reached then the FDR should identify issues for the court. Any evidence said or admitted during financial dispute resolution is not admissible as evidence at a future court date.
FDRSee: Financial Dispute Resolution
FLASee: Family Law Act
FLBASee: Family Law Bar Association
FLRSee: Family Law Reports
Form EIn divorce proceedings this is the form a person fills in setting out their financial assets. http://www.courtservice.gov.uk/cms/media/forme.pdf
Fostering PanelLocalAuthority fostering panels have functions which include: advising – as to the appointment of foster carers, reviewing foster carers’ performance and termination of foster carers’ appointments, advising on issues regarding children and foster carers’ rights, dealing with complaints procedure, training, equal opportunities and related matters.
Foster ParentIf a child has been placed under Section 23 (2) (a) of the Children’s’ Act by the Local Authority. The person the child has been placed with is the Foster Parent, it can include any suitable person including a family member.
Family Proceedings CourtThe family proceedings court is a magistrates court specifically designated for family work. All care proceedings have to be commenced in the FPC.
FPCFamily Proceedings Court
Family Proceedings RulesThe rules of court for the purposes of family proceedings in the High Court and County Court.
Financial Dispute Resolution. The Family Proceedings Rules 1991 states that the FDR will allow the parties in divorce proceedings to discuss and negotiate a final settlement of the matrimonial assets. This meeting is supposed to reduce the conflict around disputes over assets. If a settlement cannot be reached then the FDR should identify issues for the court. Any evidence said or admitted during financial dispute resolution is not admissible as evidence at a future court date.
First Directions Appointment.First appointment at court where the judge gives directions on how the case should proceed.
FPRSee: Family Proceedings Rules
Framework AssessmentGuidance issued by the Department of Health that should be followed when a child in need is being assessed.
Freeing (for Adoption)This is a term meaning that there is no legal obstacle to adoption. Once a child is freed for adoption by court order there is no need to get consent of the mother (or person with PR) to that child’s adoption. This has now been replaced by a system of Placement orders.
Guardian Ad LitemThe old term for the Children’s Guardian.
GALSee: Guardian Ad Litem
Good Enough ParentingA term used in child welfare to distinguish between the care provided by a parent to a child which is adequate, and care which warrants intervention by an outside authority and perhaps the removal of the child from their parents.
Habitual ResidenceThe country in which a child normally lives (a child maybe said to be habitually resident somewhere), even if the child has only recently moved there.
HarassmentThis term is defined in Protection from Harassment Act 1997 that includes but is not restricted to, ‘alarming a person’ and ‘ causing the person distress’s7(2) ‘Harassment includes within it an element of intent, intent to cause distress or harm’. Harassment is a course of conduct must involve conduct on at least two occasions. Conduct includes speech and can be taken if aided, abetted, counselled or procured by another.
HearingThe public trial of a case before a court. In particular circumstances a hearing can be in private i.e. only including person’s party to the proceedings.
HHJHis / Her Honour Judge
Hildebrand DocumentsWhere a party in ancillary relief proceedings has obtained documents of the other side they ought not to have. The opposing party is entitled to request copies of those documents.
Human Rights ActEnacted in 1998 the HRA has the effect of incorporating most of the articles in the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. As a result of the HRA all public authorities must act in accordance with the ECHR and all acts passed by parliament must be compatible with the ECHR. Where an act is not compatible the HRA allows the court to make a declaration of incompatibility stating that the act does not comply with the ECHR.
HRAHuman Rights Act
Interim Care OrderUnder s.38 of the CA 1989 the court has the court to make interim orders. An interim care order places a child under the care of the local authority whilst other proceedings are ongoing, for example whilst awaiting a hearing for a final care order. The ICO has the effect of giving the local authority parental responsibility. The ICO lasts for 8 weeks. http://www.fnf.org.uk/chact/chact4.htm
ICOSee: Interim Care Order
Implacable HostilityImplacable hostility arises after separation or divorce and denotes the attitude shown by one parent to another in denying access to, or contact with, their child or children. What differentiates implacable hostility from the typical hostility that may arise after separation/divorce is that the deep-rooted nature of the hostility cannot be justified on rational grounds and measures taken by third parties including mediators and the family courts are unable to resolve the situation.
Indirect ContactIn proceedings involving children indirect contact refers to all non face to face contact with that child. This might include telephone contact, contact be letter or by e-mail. Indirect contact may be ordered by the court in addition to direct contact or as an alternative where it is not appropriate for the child to have direct contact.
Inherent JurisdictionPower of the High Court to protect children and incapacitated adults. This allows the High Court to use their discretion where no other proceedings provide an adequate remedy.
InjunctionA court order that either restrains a person from carrying out a course of action or directs that a course of action is complied with. Failure to comply with the terms of the injunction is a contempt of court and is punishable by a term of imprisonment.
Interim Supervision OrderLike the ICO, this is an interim order that the court makes in care proceedings until a point at which the proceedings can be finally dealt with. An interim supervision order places on the local authority the duty to advise, assist and befriend the supervised child and to take such steps as are reasonably necessary to give effect to the order.
ISOInterim Supervision Order
JMr / Ms Justice
Judicial ReviewJudicial review is a form of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. It is a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made. It is not concerned with the conclusions of that process and whether these were ‘right’, as long as the right procedures have been followed. The court will not substitute what it thinks is the 'correct' decision. This may mean that the public body will be able to make the same decision again, so long as it does so in a lawful way. The lawfulness of a decision is challenged on the grounds of its illegality; irrationality; or, unfairness.
JRSee: Judicial Review
LASee: LocalAuthority
LAC ReviewSee: Looked After Child Review
Learning DisabilityA learning disability is a lifelong condition that affects an individual’s ability to learn. The causes of many learning disabilities are not known, but examples might include everything from dyslexia to Down’s Syndrome. People with a learning disability find it harder to learn and understand than others. As a result, some need support with everyday practical skills like getting dressed or cooking, or social skills like holding a conversation. The disability can vary in range from mild to severe and the help a person with a learning disability requires will vary accordingly.
Letterbox ContactA term used to denote indirect contact by letter sent via the LocalAuthority.
Litigant in PersonA person who conducts their own court case and represents themselves at court hearings without the assistance of a professional advocate.
LIPSee: Litigant in Person
Litigation FriendIn court proceedings involving children the court will normally order that proceedings be conducted through a ‘litigation friend’ who is an adult who can act on behalf of the child and represent that child’s interests. In circumstances where the court feels the child is able to conduct proceedings on their own (e.g. with an older teenager) the court may dispense with the need for a litigation friend. A child is defined by the court as someone under 18.
Litigant in PersonPerson acting without a lawyer / unrepresented in court proceedings.
LJLord Justice
Legal Services CommissionThe Legal Services Commission is an executive non-departmental public body set up to replace the Legal Aid Board. It is responsible for the development and administration of two schemes in England and Wales: The Community Legal Service, which from 1st April 2000 replaced the old civil scheme of legal aid & the Criminal Defense Service which from 2nd April 2001 replaced the old system of criminal legal aid and provides criminal services to people accused of crimes.
Local AuthorityGovernment agency in charge of different districts.
LSCLegal Services Commission
MaintenancePeriodic payments for the benefit of spouse or children in divorce proceedings.
Mackenzie FriendA person who is permitted by the judge to be in court to assist a litigant in person – they cannot speak on their behalf.
MasterAn old name for a type of district judge.
MatchingThe process by which an adoption panel sets up a child with prospective adoptive parents. Considerations may include a child’s ethnic or religious background, their age and gender and any special needs that the child might have.
MaternityFemale parentage, motherhood, the kinship between a mother and child.
MotherNatural mother. Any woman who is carrying or has carried a child as a result of the placing in her of an embryo or of sperm and eggs , and no other person is to be treated as the mother of the child. Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990. Where a child is adopted under the ChildrenAct1989 the natural parent ceases to be regarded as a parent and the adoptive parents get ParentalResponsibility.
MinorA person under 18 years of age (also see Child) for the purposes of legal proceedings.
MoneyIn family law this usually means the part of divorce proceedings involving the allocation of assets between parties on divorce.
Munchausen’s (by proxy)Also called Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, Munchausen’s by Proxy Syndrome, and Factitious Disorder by Proxy this is a label for a pattern of behavior in which a person deliberately exaggerates and/or fabricates and/or induces physical and/or psychological-behavioral-mental health problems of another who is under their care. This constitutes maltreatment (abuse/neglect) that manifests as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or a combination.
NAINon Accidental Injury
Neglect(Also see Chronic Neglect) This is the failure to act on the part of a person over 16 in order to protect a child from physical or emotional harm. Obvious forms might include a failure to seek medical attention for a child that needs it. Less obviously neglect might include failure to see to a child’s personal hygiene or to provide a child with affection. Neglecting a child is enough to establish the threshold criteria in public law family cases and leaves the perpetrator open to criminal charges under the Children and Young Peron’s Act 1933.
Next FriendSee Litigation Friend
No Order PrincipleWhere a court is considering whether or not to make orders in public and private family law cases under the ChildrenAct1989 with respect to a child, it shall not make the order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all. Referred also as the ‘non – intervention principle’.
Non Molestation Order Under the Family Law Act 1996 the court has the power to prohibit a person ("the respondent") from molesting another person who is associated with the respondent and/or to prohibit the respondent from molesting a relevant child. Molesting does not only denote physical harm, it can also mean pestering or annoying someone deliberately, as well as threatening or harassing them.
Non MolSee: Non Molestation Order
NullityApplication to the Court for a declaration that a marriage be declared 'void' or be annulled i.e. declared never to have existed or to have subsisted until the Court dissolved it.
Occupation OrderMade under the FLA 1996 this an order which decides who should live in a home after there has been violence or harassment. For example, the court can order a person to leave the home or only live in a particular part of the home, allow someone back into the home, or exclude a person from a specific area around the home.
OrderA command given by a court either orally or in writing.
Ordinary ResidenceThe place where a child ordinarily resides disregarding any period the child may live in a school or other institution, in accordance with the requirements of a supervision order under this act or an order under section 63 (1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000; or while he is being provided with accommodation by or on behalf of a local authority.
OutcomeThe consequence of a hearing or the impact on a child of intervention or assessment.
Paramountcy PrincipleThe principle that in proceedings involving children the interests of the child are of the principle concern for the court.
PaternityMale parentage, fatherhood, the kinship between a father and child.
ParentalResponsibility (PR)This means "all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to the child and his property".
PD DocsPractice Direction Documents
Penal NoticeNon compliance of a judgment or order for example a breach of an injunction with a penal notice attached to it means that the defendant in breach is in contempt of court and could face a custodial sentence.
Permission to leave JurisdictionIn certain cases permission from the court is required before a party may take a child abroad, thereby leaving the jurisdiction of the court. Permission may be required not only to remove a child permanently from the courts jurisdiction but also when a party wishes to take a child abroad for a holiday.
Personality DisorderDeeply ingrained behavior patterns that do not lend themselves to easy classification as a mental illness, for which an underlying mechanism of mental disorder is not known. None the less the disordered behavior represents an extreme variant of ‘normal’ behavior.
PHRSee: Pre Hearing Review
PIISee: Public Interest Immunity
PlacementA decision of residence regarding where a child should live and with whom outside the parents home.
Power of ArrestA power of arrest can be attached to a court order which gives the police the authority to arrest a person in breach of that order without a warrant.
PPOSee: Police Protection Order
PRFDSee: Principle Registry of the Family Division
Pre Trial ReviewA hearing at which the court decides how a case should proceed, and what each party ought to do to assist the court.
Principle Registry of the Family DivisionPart of the Family Division of the High Court, it also acts as a county court.
Private LawUnder the CA 1989 those proceedings that do not involve a local authority and relate to matters such as the residence of a child and contact with the parents upon the break up of a relationship are private law proceedings.
ProhibitedSteps OrderUnder s. 8 CA 1989 a prohibited steps order means an order that no step which could be taken by a parent in meeting his parental responsibility for a child, and which is of a kind specified in the order, shall be taken by any person without the consent of the court. This order is often used to prevent a parent removing a child from jurisdiction.
PSOSee: ProhibitedSteps Order
PTRSee: Pre Trial Review
Public Interest ImmunityA claim to keep evidence secret in the public interest.
Public LawUnder CA 1989 part 4 these are cases which involve the exercise of statutory duty by a local ‘public’ authority in relation to children. Most often these involve the instigation of care proceedings.
Purge ContemptWhen a person is committed to prison for contempt of court they may be released early if they are able to ’purge’ their contempt for example by apologising to the court, making undertakings or paying a fine.
Purple BookFramework Assessment.
Recovery OrderUnder CA 1989 s.50 the court may make a recovery order where it appears that a child who is in care or is subject to an EPO, is missing or has been unlawfully taken or kept away from the person who has care under the care order or EPO. The order requires any person who is in a position to do so to produce the child. It allows an authorised person to remove the child. It requires a person with information on the child whereabouts to disclose this and allows a constable to enter premises to search for the child.
RefugeEmergency residential establishment often for victims of domestic violence that offer protection.
RehabA term short for rehabilitation. Rehab refers to a therapeutic residential or non residential program designed to help a person with drug or alcohol dependency to address and then kick their habit.
RemediesThe power of the court to enforce a right or correct a wrong or prevent a wrong.
Remove from JurisdictionIf a child is taken out of the country that child is removed from the jurisdiction of the English courts. This happens most frequently in cases of child adduction or where a parent wishes to leave the country with leave of the court.
Residence OrderAn order that sets out with whom a child is to live.
Residential AssessmentAn assessment of a child and a parent within a residential as opposed to a community setting, conducted with a view to ascertaining the parenting abilities of the parent being assessed.
RespondentThe defending party, or party who are responding to an application to the court.
RobedWhen a lawyer or judge is wearing traditional court wear of a wig and gown.
Robing RoomA room in court reserved for advocates and solicitors. The room is set aside to allow barristers to put on their court robes.
s. 31See care order / supervision order.
s. 38(6)The section in the CA 1989 that refers to the courts power to order a residential or non residential assessment of a person’s ability to care for their child.
s. 91(14)On disposing of any application for an order under this Act, the court may (whether or not it makes any other order in response to the application) order that no application for an order under this Act of any specified kind maybe made with respect to the child concerned by any person named in the order without leave of the court.
S.34(4)An application made by the authority or the child, the court may make an order authorising the authority to refuse to allow contact between the child and his parents, guardian or the holder of a residence order.
Schedule 1 OffenderAny person convicted of an offence listed in schedule 1 children and young persons Act 1933, these include a range of offences some of which are violent and most of which are sexual offences and offences against children.
Section 8 A Section 8 Order is either a Contact order, ProhibitedSteps order, Residence order or SpecificIssue order and any order varying or discharging an above order.
Secure AccommodationAccommodation provided for the purpose of restricting the liberty of children.
SFLASolicitors Family Law Association - now known as Resolution.
Shaken baby Baby that has been shaken usually by a carer out of frustration.
SIDSSee: Sudden Infant death Syndrome
SIOSee: SpecificIssue Order
SkeletonA basic document outlining in brief the arguments and law.
SpecificIssue OrderUnder section 8 of the Children Act an order giving directions for the purpose of determining a specific question which has arisen , or which may arise, in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child.
Specific Learning DisorderDisorder that affects a person’s ability to learn for example dyslexia.
Split HearingA hearing that has started but then been adjourned for a period of time. Ie not continuous
SSDSocial Services Department
StatelessOf no status anywhere, no country of origin.
Staying ContactOvernight contact.
StipeStipendiary Magistrate now called a District Judge
Sudden Infant death Syndrome‘SIDS’ This occurs where small children die in circumstances where there is no real explanation. This can sometimes lead to suspicion of mistreatment by their carers’.
Supervision OrderPlaces a child under the supervision of local authority or a probation officer. This local authority does not acquire parental responsibility. The supervisors main duties are to advise assist and befriend the supervised child and to take such steps that are reasonably necessary to give effect to the order. A supervision order lasts for 1 year initially but can be extended for up to 3 years. It can be varied or discharged under s39 of the Children’s Act.
SWSocial Worker
Team managerResponsible for managing and supervising social workers included in his or her team.
ThresholdThe level that must be reached before a judge can make an order.
Threshold CriteriaThe threshold criteria must be satisfied before a Local Authority can make an application in care proceedings. They criteria is as follows:The child concerned is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and the harm or likely harm is likely to be attributable to the care given falling below a reasonable standard or that the child is beyond parental control.
UndertakingAn undertaking creates an obligation by way of a promise that can be agreed without a power of arrest. It is advantageous as if agreed prevents the necessity of the court making an order or finding of fact.
WardshipThe ability of the court to put itself in the position of a parent and take responsibility for a child.
Welfare PrincipleSection 1 (1) of the ChildrenAct1989 states that when a court determines a question in relation to a child’s upbringing, administration of a child’s property or the application of any money arising from it, a child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration. This is considered by some as contrary to Article 8 of European Convention of Human Rights 1998.
Working togetherThe Department of Health, the Department for Education and Skills and the Home Office produced a guidance document in 1999 entitled Working Together to Safeguard Children. This document was aimed to encourage professionals and agencies to work together to safeguard children from abuse.

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