When it is time to stop someone making repeated Children Act applications?

13 Oct 2016

At Grainger Appleyard Solicitors we are always ready to assist and advise clients in any matter relating to family law.

Occasionally, we need to advise clients who are the subject of repeated and unnecessary applications to the court usually made by their ex-partner in respect of the children.  We would not advise anyone to enter lightly into court proceedings.  They can be very stressful.  At Grainger Appleyard we do all that we can to ease the process. 

In appropriate situations we advise our clients about section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989.  Under section 91(14) the court may make an order that a person is prevented from making any further application under the Children Act without leave of the court.  This can bring a welcome respite to a family who have found themselves repeatedly having to deal with court applications. 

The courts have repeatedly emphasised that a section 91(14) barring order are to be made “sparingly” and with “great care”.  The courts have emphasised that the purpose of section 91(14) barring orders is “to prevent unnecessary and disruptive applications being made to the court”. 

In our experience the most likely reason for the court granting a restriction requiring a person to obtain permission to make an application is where that person has already made repeated and unreasonable application with no hope of success.  In those circumstances the person making the applications must have crossed the line between a reasonable applicant to one who is making unreasonable applications which have become oppressive.  Ultimately the courts overriding concern is the welfare of the child and the court may even make an order barring a person if this can be shown to be in the child’s best interests even if there have not been repeated or previous vexatious applications. 

As expected the courts state that the duration of the barring order needs to be proportionate to the harm that it is designed to avoid.   This will need to be carefully considered by the court in relation to the particular circumstances of the case. 

At Grainger Appleyard Solicitors we take great care in priding ourselves on the tailored advice that we give to our clients.

If you or someone you know has been subject to repeated and unreasonable applications in the Family Court or if there are other matters you wish to discuss in relation to family law please do not hesitate to contact us on 01302 327257.  We offer a family law clinic every Thursday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm which provides initial free advice.   Our family department is staffed by qualified and experienced solicitors who each have specialist accreditations in family or children law.