Specialist magistrates sit in the Family Court, dealing with private and public law cases
The Family Court is a court within civil jurisdiction dealing with a variety of cases relating to children, child protection, family breakdown and other related issues. Cases heard by magistrates in the Family Court concerning children are either matters of public law or private law.
Although all levels of the Family Courts were opened up to accredited members of the media in April 2009, the Family Court may restrict access to proceedings if a child's welfare requires it, or if it is necessary to do so for the safety and protection of parties or witnesses involved; both of which can request this of the court, if they feel it necessary. Reporting can also be restricted in order to protect the welfare of children and families, or to relax rules in individual cases.
These cases are brought by local authorities or an authorised person (currently only the NSPCC) and include matters such as:
Private law cases are brought by private individuals, generally in connection with divorce or the parents’ separation. Within this area, types of order include:
An adoption order made by a court removes the rights, duties and obligations of the natural parents or guardian and gives them to the adoptive parents. On adoption the child becomes, for virtually all purposes in law, the child of its adoptive parents.
Two types of order can be granted:
Anyone breaching a non-molestation order can be arrested.
The Family Court also has the powers to order that a suspected abuser may be removed from the home, rather than the child.
The 'single Family Court' (also known as the Family Court) was implemented on 22 April 2014. On the same day, the majority of the family justice provisions in the Children and Families Act came into force. You can find more information on the single Family Court here.
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