Family Lore Clinic: How often is a prohibited steps order granted?


Something slightly different this week, as the questioner is not seeking actual legal advice.

A prohibited steps order is a type of "private law" (i.e. not involving the local authority) children order, as are residence, contact and specific issue orders. A prohibited steps order is "an order that no step which could be taken by a parent in meeting his 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". Examples of prohibited steps orders are orders preventing one parent from removing a child from their school, or from taking them abroad.

The latest court statistics (for the first quarter of this year) indicate that 17 per cent of children involved in applications for private law orders were involved in applications for prohibited steps orders. However, prohibited steps orders were only made for 11 per cent of children involved in orders actually made.

Note, however, that applications for one type of order can result in a different type of order being made, so not all prohibited steps orders were necessarily made following applications for prohibited steps orders.

Notwitstanding that, the above figures suggest that prohibited steps orders are not actually made in a large proportion of applications. Of course, this does not mean that no order at all was made - the court may have made a different type of order.

Having said that, the kind of things covered by prohibited steps orders varies considerably, so I'm not too sure that it would be valid to draw any definite conclusions from the figures.

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