The Practical Lawyer


Public Law Outline – key points

An interesting article in Family Law Journal flags up some of the key changes to care proceedings brought about by the Public Law Outline and revised Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 1:

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Contact order – unsupervised contact

A mother appealed against a decision granting the father unsupervised contact with their three-year-old daughter.

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Pre-nuptial agreements – review

The Law Commission will examine the status and enforceability of marital property and finance agreements made either before or during the course of marriage or civil partnership.

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Local authority – assisting child to live abroad

Paragraph 19 of Sch 2 to the Children Act 1989 stipulates the circumstances in which a local authority may arrange for, or assist in arranging for, any child in their care to live outside England and Wales.

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Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act – calculation of maintenance

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 received Royal Assent on 5 June 2008. The Act changes the basis of calculation of child support maintenance: it is now provided that the calculation shall always be based on ‘gross weekly income’ (Sch 4, para 3). A two-stepped arrangement is introduced:

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Special guardians – financial support

A local authority’s special guardianship support scheme tied allowances for special guardians to adoption allowances, rather than fostering rates.

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Care proceedings – court fees challenge

This year the government reallocated money from the Court Service to local authorities directly, to enable the latter to cover the increase in court fees for care proceedings from £150 to £4,285.

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Private fostering – notification

Private fostering arrangements are those made privately for the care of a child under 16 by someone other than a parent or close relative.

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Care and placement proceedings – parent lacking capacity

Practitioners in this field should read Wall LJ’s views on how a local authority should proceed under the PLO where there is an issue concerning the parent’s capacity in care and placement proceedings in RP v Nottingham City Council & the Official Solicitor [2008] EWCA Civ 462.


Adoption Panel – flawed decision cannot be rectified by court

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 stipulates the procedure to be followed by a local authority where the plan is for a child to be adopted. The local authority is required to:

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