Children Act 1989 Proceedings Explained


Are you looking for help with Children Act 1989 proceedings? I am a public access Barrister who has helped many clients with applications and continue to provide support to families going through Court.  

In this short article I will guide you through some essential facts about Children Act 1989 proceedings. Take a look at my associated articles dealing with Child Arrangements Orders and How to Apply for a Child Arrangements Order.  

When advising clients about the process, which is often daunting because it is unfamiliar to most people, I find that there are some key points everyone should be aware of. Knowing some of this information will help you navigate through the process a little easier.  

What are Children Act 1989 proceedings? 

These are the rules that govern how a Court will deal with an application for the welfare and access rights for children.  

Applications are made under Section 8 of the 1989 Act and can be made without needing approval by the Court by parents (including stepparents and guardians) and named people in existing Court Orders.  

Key Terms 

Key terms that you may hear or read include:  


    • Child Arrangements Orders which regulate the arrangements concerning where a child is to live, who they have contact with and spend time with.   

    • Prohibited Steps Orders which prevent a parent or any other person from doing something listed in the Order without the consent of the Court.  


    • Specific Issue Orders which provide directions in respect of specific issues or question which have arisen in connection with the parental responsibility for the child. 

What are Fact Finding Hearings in Children Act Proceedings? 

A Fact-Finding Hearing is used to identify whether there is a material risk of harm to the children involved in the application. This will be directly relevant to the outcome of the Child Arrangements Order.  

These hearings are not always necessary, and the Court will decide whether one will be held or note.  

CAFCASS is Involved – Who is CAFCASS and what do they do? 

If you have CAFCASS involved in your matter, they will play a key role in the assessment process and inform the Court about key aspects of the welfare of the children involved in the proceedings. CAFCASS stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. Cafcass represents children in family court cases in England. They independently advise the family courts about what is safe for children and in their best interests.  

Their duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children going through the family justice system. 

They may be asked by the court to work with families and then advise the court on what they consider to be the best interests of the children involved in three main areas: 


    • divorce and separation; 

    • care proceedings; and 

    • adoption. 

My top tip for individuals dealing with Children Act 1989 proceedings is to be familiar with these terms and the processes involved, and to seek help where needed. Such proceedings are difficult to manage without legal support but understanding the basics will make your relationship with your legal representative and the whole process seem much less daunting. Please see more information about Children Act 1989 Proceedings here.  

If you need assistance with any of the above issues or require support with your application, please contact Sima directly by calling 02073531746 or via email: