Glossary of Terms in Family Proceedings

Originally taken from https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/fjc-glossary-of-terms-in-family-proceedings.pdf

Term Definition 
 Adoption   to take another person's child into your own family and legally raise him or her as your own child 
 Adoption Order  An order giving parental responsibility for a child to adopters made on their application to the court. The order extinguishes the parental responsibility which any person had for the child immediately before the making of the order 
 Advocate  A barrister or a solicitor representing a party in a hearing before a court 
  Allocation Hearing  First hearing in care proceedings
 Ancillary Relief  Additional claims arising out of a divorce, judicial separation or nullity petition most commonly for financial provision 
 Appeal   Application to as higher court for review of a decision of a lower court 
 Arranged Marriage   a marriage in which the parents choose who their son or daughter will marry 
Barrister  A member of the bar: the branch of the legal profession which has rights of audience before all courts 
CAFCASS  Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services. Government Agency which looks after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. It works with children and their families, and then advises the courts on what it considers to be in the children's best interests. CAFCASS only works in the family courts. 
Care Order  An order placing a child in the care of a designated local authority 
Care Plan  In an application for a care order, the local authority must provide basic information to the court and to the parties about case management and long term planning. The court cannot make a final care order unless it has considered a care plan 
Case Management Conference A hearing in care proceedings to consider what directions are necessary to ensure that a fair hearing takes place and to timetable proceedings to ensure that the final hearing takes place in good time
Child  A person under the age of eighteen 
 Child Abduction  The unauthorised removal of a child from the care of the person with whom he normally lives
 Child Assessment Order  An order permitting the applicant (usually a local authority) to carry out an assessment of a child’s health and development or of the way in which the child has been treated
Child Maintenance Service (CMS) A government agency responsible for the calculation, collection and payment of child support maintenance
 Child Protection Conference  A multi-disciplinary meeting to discuss the case of a particular child, convened at the request of a local authority, or any other agency involved, but chaired by a local authority officer
 Child Protection Plan  An inter-agency plan to protect a child once the child has been found to be at continuing risk of significant harm at a Child Protection Conference
 Child Protection Register  A central register kept by a local authority listing all the children in its area who are judged to be at continuing risk of significant harm and for whom there is a child protection plan. The principal purpose of the register is to make agencies and professionals aware of children judged to be at risk of significant harm and in need of active safeguarding.
 Child Support Agency (CSA)   A government agency responsible for the calculation, collection and payment of child support maintenance.  This agency is no longer taking cases and all existing cases are to be transferred to the CMS.
Children’s Guardian  A person who acts for a child who is subject to specified public law proceedings usually care proceedings 
 Circuit Judge  A judge who sits in the county court and/or Crown Court
 Clean break In Ancillary Relief proceedings the court has a duty, when exercising its powers to make an order, to consider whether it would be appropriate to exercise those powers so that the financial obligations of each party towards the other will be terminated as soon as the court considers just and reasonable 
Coercive Control

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour; and

Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Committal to Prison Sending a person to prison for breaching a court order
Conciliation A structured process in which parties to a dispute meet voluntarily with one or more impartial third parties who help them explore the possibilities of reaching agreement without having the power to impose a settlement on them or the responsibility to advise any party individually
Conciliation Appointment A hearing at which the court and a CAFCASS officer will consider the case and attempt to assist the parties to reach an agreement
Contact Centre is a supervised venue that exists to support and promote contact between parents, grandparents, guardians and children that do not live together
Contact Order An order requiring the person with whom a child lives, or is to live, to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the order. Following the Children and Families Act 2014 contact orders were replaced by Child Arrangements Orders for contact.
Core Assessment is an in-depth assessment carried out by a local authority to assess the needs of a child and the capacity of their caregivers to respond appropriately to these needs, including the need to be protected from harm where this is a concern, to assess the impact of wider family and community factors upon the family and to inform planning and service provision regarding the child and their family.
County Court A court dealing with civil matters which can hear family cases usually by District Judges and/or Circuit Judges
Decree Absolute The final certificate for divorce dissolving a marriage
Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme  A programme of treatment for someone (currently only men) who is found to have perpetrated domestic abuse.  Cafcass currently do not commission such courses for women, so violent women are never ordered to attend these by the Family Court.
Decree Nisi  Order for divorce unless cause to the contrary is shown within a set period. This is NOT a final certificate of divorce
District Judge  A judge who sit in the county court
District Judge (Magistrates’ Court)  A judge who sits in the Magistrates’ Court
Divorce  Dissolution of marriage
DNA testing  Scientific test usually used to determine paternity and maternity of a child
Domicile  The place where a person lives.  Can also refer to the country.
Emergency Protection Order (EPO)  An urgent order allowing an authorised person (usually the local authority) to remove a child into accommodation or to prevent the child being removed from hospital or other place if the court finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if he is not removed or does not remain where he is then. The order can only be made for 8 days but can be one extension for a maximum of 7 days
Emotional Abuse  A form of ill-treatment of a child or adult. No precise definition.
Expert  a person with a high level of knowledge or skill, a specialist usually instructed to give or prepare evidence to the court on matters within his or her expertise
Fact Finding A hearing where the court determines a set of facts or allegations which are relevant to the case it is hearing.  This may be part of a Final Hearing or it may be a distinct hearing.
Family Assistance Order  An order requiring an officer of a local authority or CAFCASS to advise, assist and (where appropriate) befriend any person named in the order
Family Centre

 A centre (usually provided by a local authority) where a child, his parents or any other person looking after him may attend for:

1. occupational, social, cultural or recreational activities

2. advice, guidance or counselling

3. accommodation while receiving advice, guidance or counselling

Family Proceedings Court  A magistrates court dealing with family cases
 Final Hearing  The hearing at which the court will make the final determination in relation to any applications before it
 Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing  Hearing in Ancillary Relief proceedings where the court assists the parties in discussion and negotiation in order to reach a settlement. The court is unable to force an agreement on the parties at this hearing.
 First Directions Appointment  First hearing in Ancillary Relief proceedings. The purpose of this hearing is to define the issues, save costs, make directions in relation to the future conduct of the case, and, where possible, reach a settlement
 Forced Marriage  Forcing or attempting to force another person to enter into a marriage or purported marriage without the other person’s free and full consent
 Form E  An obligatory sworn financial statement filed in Ancillary Relief proceedings intended to encapsulate everything the court needs to know about the financial position and what orders the parties are seeking
 Foster Parent  A person who takes care of a child, usually for a limited time, without being the child's legal parent.
 Freezing Injunction  An order which prevents or sets aside the disposition or transfer of any property or asset
 Hague Convention  A convention signed by a number of countries to enforce rights of custody and prevent wrongful removal of children
 Harm  Under the Children Act 1989, is defined as illtreatment or the impairment of health or development including, for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another
 High Court

 A civil court consisting of 3 divisions:

1. Queen’s Bench – civil disputes for recovery of money, including breach of contract, personal injuries, libel/slander

2. Family – concerning matrimonial matters and proceedings relating to children

3. Chancery – property matters including fraud and bankruptcy

 Ill-treatment To treat someone badly. Under the Children Act 1989 is stated to include sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment which are not physical
 Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court  The general jurisdiction of the High Court is, broadly speaking, unrestricted and unlimited in all matters of law, which means that the court can make almost any order except in so far as any power has been taken away in unequivocal terms by statute
 Injunction  an official order given by a court, usually to stop someone from doing something.  Examples would be a Non-Molestation Order or Occupation Order.
 Interim Care Order  A time limited (usually 28 days) but renewable short term care order usually made leading up to a final hearing in care proceedings
 Interim Supervision Order  A time limited (usually 28 days) but renewable short term supervision order usually made leading up to a final hearing in care proceedings
 Judicial Separation  The court approving formal separation of parties to a marriage but not actually dissolving the marriage.
 Local Authority the public authority who govern an area, especially a city. The council of a county or metropolitan district and their administration
 Looked after child  Under the Children Act 1989, a child who is in the care of a local authority or is provided with accommodation by the local authority
 Lump Sum Order  In Ancillary Relief proceedings an order that one party to the marriage pay the other party a fixed sum of money in either one payment or by installments
 Maintenance Pending Suit  In Ancillary Relief proceedings, a party can apply for interim periodical payments which the court may order before the conclusion of the proceedings
 Matrimonial Home  The principal home in which parties to the marriage reside or resided
McKenzie Friend Any person who helps a litigant with their case in court, giving moral support, helping with papers and notes and giving quiet advice.  McKenzie Friends may have a legal qualification or not, may help for free or charge for their services, but they cannot have a personal interest in the case and they may not conduct litigation for a party or represent a party in court without the permission of the court.
 Mediation  talking to two separate people or groups involved in a disagreement to try to help them to agree or find a solution to their problems
 Neglect  Failing to give enough care or attention to a child
 No order principle  Under Section 1 of the Children Act 1989, a court must not make an order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all
 Non-molestation Order  An order under the Family Law Act 1996 prohibiting a person from molesting another person. The order usually prohibits that person from harassing, pestering, intimidating, threatening or actually using violence against the other person.  This order is a type of injuction.
 Occupation Order  An order under the Family Law Act 1996 regulating occupation of a home. It includes the power to either allow a person back into a home or to exclude a person from a home and/or from a defined area in which the home is included.  This is a type of injunction.
 Nullity  A void or voidable marriage pursuant to Sections 11 and 12 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 on grounds including: 1. at least one of the parties was under age at the time of the marriage 2. the parties are within the prohibited degrees of relationship e.g. brother and sister 3. either party was already married 4. the parties are not respectively male and female 5. a polygamous married outside England and Wales but either party being domiciled in England and Wales 6. marriage not consummated due to incapacity of either party or wilful refusal 7. either party to the marriage did not validly consent to it whether through duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind or otherwise.
 Official Solicitor  A government agency which represents minors or adults under legal disability, and sometimes others, in county court or High Court proceedings in England and Wales, and in the Court of Protection. It also acts as last resort personal representative of the estate of a deceased person, or trustee of a trust, and other functions
 Paramountcy Principle  Under Section 1 of the Children Act 1989, when a court determines the upbringing of a child or the administration of a child’s property, the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration
 Parental Responsibility

 Under Section 3 of the Children Act 1989 this is defined as all rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to a child and his property. Aspects of parental responsibility include:

  1. determining the child’s religion
  2. determining the child’s education
  3. naming the child
  4. appointing a guardian for a child
  5. consenting (or not) to medical treatment
  6. consenting to blood testing
  7. consenting (or not) to marriage
  8. representing the child in legal proceedings
  9. consenting (or not) to adoption
  10. lawfully correcting the child
  11. arranging the child’s emigration
  12. consenting to the temporary removal of the child from the jurisdiction for holidays or extended stays
  13. protecting and maintaining the child
  14. administering the child’s property
  15. having physical possession of the child
  16. having contact with the child
  17. providing for the burial or cremation of the deceased child
  18. allowing the child to be interviewed
  19. allowing confidential information relating to the child to be published
Pension Earmarking An order in divorce or nullity proceedings allowing the court to provide that one party’s shareable rights under a pension scheme (which may include any pension, lump sum or gratuity, given on or in anticipation of retirement) be subject to pension sharing for the benefit of the other party through specifying a percentage value to be transferred. This order splits the pension before retirement
Periodical Payments Order In Ancillary Relief proceedings an order that either party to the marriage shall make to the other such periodical payments, for such term, as may be specified in the order.  Colloquially referred to as "spousal maintenance".
Petition A method of commencing proceedings whereby the order required is expressed as a prayer e.g. in a divorce petition a prayer that the marriage be dissolved
 Physical Abuse  A form of ill-treatment of a child. No precise definition.
 Placement Order  An order authorising a local authority to place a child for adoption with any prospective adopters who may be chosen by the authority
 Police Protection Order (PPO)

 Under Section 46 of the Children Act 1989, where a police constable has reasonable cause to believe that a child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm he may:

(a) remove the child to suitable accommodation and keep him there; or

(b) take such steps as are reasonable to ensure that the child’s removal from any hospital, or other place, in which he is then being accommodated is prevented.

A child can be kept in police protection for a maximum of 72 hours.

 Power of Arrest Attached to a Non-Molestation or Occupation Order allowing a police constable to arrest a person whom he or she has reasonable cause for suspecting to be in breach of the order and bring that person before the court within 24 hours of arrest
 Pre Hearing Review  A directions hearing usually shortly before the final hearing
 Prohibited Steps Order  An order that no step which could be taken by a parent in meeting his or her 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
 Property Adjustment Order  In Ancillary Relief proceedings an order that a party to the marriage shall transfer or settle such property specified in the order to or for the benefit of the other party or child of the family
 Recovery Order  Under Section 50 of the Children Act 1989, where it appears to the court that there is reason to believe that a child who is in care is missing or has been unlawfully taken or kept away or has run away or is staying away it may make a Recovery Order. The order requires any person who has knowledge of the whereabouts of the child to disclose this information and allows the police to enter any specified premises named in the order to search for the child, using reasonable force if necessary.
 Residence Order  An order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom a child is to live.  This was superceded by Child Arrangements Orders where the child "lives with" a party by the Children and Families Act 2014.
 Sale of Property Order  In Ancillary Relief proceedings, where a court makes a secured periodical payments order, lump sum order or property adjustment order, it may make a further order for the sale of such property as may be specified in the order
 Section 8 Order  Order under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989, namely residence order, contact order, prohibited steps order or specific issue order
Section 91(14) Order An order under section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989 prohibiting a party from making further applications of a specified kind without first getting the permission of the court.
 Secure Accommodation Accommodation provided for the purpose of restricting liberty
 Secure Accommodation Order

 Under Section 25 of the Children Act 1989, a looked after child may not be placed, and if placed, may not be kept, in secure accommodation unless it appears:

(a) that

(i) he has a history of absconding and is likely to abscond from any other description of accommodation; and

(ii) if he absconds, he is likely to suffer significant harm, or

(b) that if he is kept in any other description of accommodation he is likely to injure himself or other persons

A Secure Accommodation Order can only be made for up to 6 months at a time

 Secure Periodical Payments Order  In Ancillary Relief proceedings an order that either party to the marriage shall secure to the other to the satisfaction of the court such periodical payments, for such term, as may be specified in the order.
 Sexual Abuse  A form of ill-treatment of a child or adult of a sexual nature. No precise definition.
 Significant Harm  Considerable, noteworthy or important harm
 Social Services  Services provided by local or national government to help people who are old or ill or need support in their lives
 Social Worker  a person with a social work qualification who is regulated by Social Work England and who works for the social services or for a private organization providing help and support for people who need it
 Solicitor  Member of the legal profession mainly concerned with advising clients and preparing their cases and representing them in some courts. May also act as advocates before certain courts or tribunals
Solicitor for the Child A solicitor appointed by the court to represent a child in children’s proceedings
Special Guardian A person who has parental responsibility for a child, and subject to any other order in force, is entitled to exercise parental responsibility to the exclusion of any other person who has parental responsibility for that child (apart from any other special guardian)
Special Guardianship Order An order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian. The order is intended to place a child through with a nonparent with a degree of permanence, which is greater than a simple residence order, but less final than full adoption
Specific Issue Order 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
Threshold Criteria

A court may only make a Care or Supervision Order if the threshold criteria are met i.e. that the court is satisfied that:

(a) that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm; and

(b) that the harm or likelihood of harm is attributable to:

(i) the care given to the child, or likely to be given to the child if the order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give to him; or

(ii) the child being beyond parental control

Undertaking A formal and binding promise to the court to do or not to do something.
Voluntary Accommodation

Under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989, a local authority has a duty to provide accommodation for a child in need who appears to require accommodation where;

1. there is no one with parental responsibility for him

2. he is lost or abandoned

3. the person caring for him is prevented from providing him with suitable accommodation or care for whatever reasons and for however long

4. he is over 16 and the local authority considers his welfare to be seriously prejudiced without the provision of accommodation

A local authority may not provide accommodation under this section for any child if any person who has parental responsibility for him and is willing and able to either provide or arrange to provide accommodation for the child objects. Also any person who has parental responsibility for a child may at any time remove the child from accommodation provided by or on behalf of the local authority under this section. This section allows for children to be legally placed voluntarily in local authority accommodation without the need for the local authority to apply for a court order

Wardship High Court action making a child a ward of court meaning that no important step can be taken in the child’s life without the permission of the court. Wardship has been described as the ‘parental jurisdiction’ of the High Court because once a child is a ward of court, the ultimate responsibility for him rests with the court.
Welfare Checklist Under Section 1(3) of the Children Act, where a court is considering whether to make a Section 8 Order or a Special Guardianship Order, it is directed to have regard to the matters listed which are referred to as the "Welfare checklist"
Welfare Report Under Section 7 of the Children Act 1989, the court when considering any question with respect to a child may order a report relating to the welfare of a child to be prepared by CAFCASS or a local authority

    

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