Monday, November 03, 2008

Contact provisions implemented at last

At last we know when the new powers to resolve contact disputes under the Children and Adoption Act 2006 will be implemented. The provisions will come into force on the 8th December (not the 25th November, as I was originally informed). Just as a reminder, they include:
  • giving the court power to direct a party to undertake a 'contact activity';
  • providing the court with the power to attach a contact activity condition to contact orders;
  • enabling the court to award financial compensation from one person to another for losses arising from failure to comply with the order; and
  • enabling the court, upon application, to impose an unpaid work requirement on the person who breaches the contact order (an 'enforcement order' - see this post).
The draft rules (including forms) can be found, in PDF format, here.


  1. This now seems to have been put back to 8th December.

    I'm not sure if we should welcome these changes or not. I haven't heard of anyone who thinks they will be effective, and they may well cause further delay.

    It's astonishing (see responses to consultation) that the courts cannot enforce a breached order unless the applicant makes a further application for enforcement (and further payment). Perhaps 'order' is the wrong word; 'polite request'?

  2. Thanks Nick - I've amended the post to show the correct date.

    Yes, I have no illusions that these provisions will be a panacea.

  3. Why do they have to call it Contact activity and not community service which is surely what it is. Bless, that they can't let mothers feel criminalised with other naughty people.

    And, will any awards for financial compensation ever be made against a single mother on benefits who has legal aid?

    Of course, I use the term mother when father could be used.

    Seems not dissimilar to the penalties for scumbag fathers who don't pay the CSA and were going to have their photos put on the page of shame.

    Of course, I use the term father when mother could be used.

    I suppose those clever people that make this all up feel better for having done something, even when it is useless and will never work.

    Enjoy your blog though, as do others I know that wonder what on earth Family Law is all about


  4. Hello Tony (or is that Swizz?),

    A 'contact activity' is not the same as an enforcement order. An example of a contact activity is attending relevant parenting programmes or classes, or information sessions, before a contact order is made. Having said that, I'm not sure why they don't use the same terminology, instead of 'unpaid work requirement'.

    I suspect you're right about financial compensation. As I've said above, I have no illusions that these provisions will be a panacea.

    Glad you enjoy the blog.

  5. John, you can call me Swizz. Everyone else does, and so do I!

    So the courts had the power to imprison a reluctant PWC, and now has the chance to send them to parenting lessons. As well as, or instead of, or does it really matter because it wouldn't be long before they realise that there are other ways to skin a cat and frustrate contact.

    Not that I have the answer, but having been on the receiving end of a loony PWC that Guantanamo bay couldn't have sorted out it is at least slightly comforting to see that they are trying to do something rather than nothing.


  6. Hi Swizz,

    Yes, I agree. Whilst not a panacea, it is a start.


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