What you need to know about child abduction law in the UK
Important orders, terms and phrases within parental child abduction law.
Prohibited Steps Order
A court order prohibiting a child’s removal from England. An application pursuant to S8 of the Children Act 1989 can be made with or without notice to the other parent if there is a real risk of an imminent departure.
Collection, Location and Passport Order – “Tipstaff Orders”
These orders are made without notice to the abducting parent and are appropriate where a parent has gone to great lengths to hide a child and therefore, there is a concern and real risk that a parent may leave the Country with the child.
A collection order requires that a child is delivered to the Tipstaff so that the child can be placed in the temporary care of the Applicant parent or another person until a further hearing, which usually takes place within a few days. It includes a bench warrant to enable the Tipstaff to arrest and detain anyone they reasonably believe is disobeying the order and to bring them to court as soon as possible.
A Location Order requires the Tipstaff to Locate a child.
A Passport order requires the Tipstaff to seize passports only.
With all three orders the Tipstaff will seize the parent and the child’s passports which are held at the Court office until further order and a Port Alert is put in place.
A Tipstaff Officer
The Tipstaff is the enforcement officer of the High Court. Their function is to execute orders of the High Court. They act with the assistance of the police. They do not carry out investigations. They rely on information provided to them by lawyers.
An all ports warning is a 24 hour service to alert police and immigration officers via the police national computer at air and sea ports, as well as the Channel Tunnel, to prevent a child leaving the country.
Wardship and Inherent Jurisdiction
The High Court is a superior court which has the power to hear child abduction cases. A Wardship order is an extreme order which puts a child under the jurisdiction of the court which means a child cannot be removed and no important decision can be made without the court’s permission.
CAFCASS High Court
CAFCASS represent the interests of children and young people in the family court. The High Court team specialise in abduction proceedings and representing children where appropriate.
A C67 application is the form used to start proceedings in the High Court for the return of a child to a Hague Convention country.
A C66 application form is used to initiate proceedings in the High Court under the Inherent Jurisdiction in relation to children for example, in Non-Hague Convention abduction proceedings.