The High Court has an inherent jurisdiction and can be of use when a family law case has an unusual aspect to it. With children, this can be relevant by making a child a ward of court.
The application must be issued in the High Court with a supporting affidavit detailing the grounds of the application and an originating summons in wardship. The child actually becomes a ward of court immediately upon the making of the application. When a child is made a ward, the court takes over the ultimate responsibility of the child, sharing parental responsibility with those who already have it but exerting control over important decisions.
The most common situations in which the High Court may make an injunction for the child’s protection are as follows: –
- Orders to restrain publicity;
- Orders to prevent an undesirable association;
- Orders relating to medical treatment
- Orders to protect abducted children or where the case has another substantial foreign element;
- Orders for the return of a child to and from another state.
Wardship proceedings may also be relevant in other types of cases and not limited to these examples. No important step in the child’s life can be taken without the permission of the court; and a child will usually cease to be a ward upon his or her majority or further order.
Due to the immediate effect of wardship, the High Court’s jurisdiction remains particularly useful in emergency situations such as where medical treatment is required or there is a threat of child abduction. The child becomes a ward of court immediately upon the originating summons being issued thereby providing immediate protection. Further, an application to the High Court may also be taken more seriously and have greater weight. Of course, when the family case is brought before the court for consideration it may well be that the court is not satisfied that wardship is the appropriate recourse. A child who is a ward of court may not be removed from England and Wales without the court’s permission; and where permission has not been given police assistance to prevent removal may be obtained. Care needs to be exercised to consider whether or not a child is habitually resident in England and Wales.
Although wardship proceedings are unusual, this option should not be forgotten or discounted particularly in emergency situations, to include child abduction.
James Maguire & Co is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.
We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.
We advise clients in the Wilmslow area and also to the surrounding areas of Alderley Edge, Bramhall, Hale, Altrincham, Manchester and the North West. We are also able to act for clients nationally and internationally subject to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. For advice please contact James Maguire by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email james.maguire@family-law.