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Prohibited Steps Orders

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

Prohibited Steps Orders relate to restricting Parental Responsibility. If a parent has parental responsibility, then he or she has the right independently to take decisions about matters such as schooling, medical treatment, and religion. A Prohibited Steps Order can remove a parent´s right to make such decisions about their child´s life.

This type of order may also be used to prevent a parent from removing their children from the jurisdiction of the Court (England and Wales). In these circumstances, and if you are worried your ex-partner may seek to unlawfully take the children abroad, you should ask for the children´s passports to be seized when you make your application for a Prohibited Steps Order.

Who can apply?

Any parent or guardian. Also holders of a (historic but still in force) Residence Order or where named in a Child Arrangements Order as someone with whom the child lives can apply for a Specific Issue Order.

When can a PSO not be made?

There is one restriction: the Court cannot make a Prohibited Steps Order where a Child Arrangements Order could address the issues that prompted the application.

As an example, if you were wishing to prevent your ex-partner from having face-to-face contact with your children due to concerns that the children could suffer abuse, you should apply for a Residence Order, and a Contact Order restricting the type of contact to indirect contact.

Prohibited Steps Orders only relate to restricting the exercise of parental responsibility (e.g. medical matters, education, parents taking the children abroad, religious matters etc).

The Court´s willingness to grant the order will depend on the circumstances presented to them and what the Court considers to be in the children´s best interests.

What form to apply to Court?

You would use Form C100. See our Form C100 Support Page to download this form and for additional information.

C100 Support

Applying to court

If you are using a solicitor, they will do this for you. Otherwise, download and complete the Form C100. Print and sign three copies of the form.

Check how much the court fees are (see our page on Court Fees), and either take a cheque, postal order or cash for that amount when you go to your local family court.

It will assist both you and the judge if you write a brief Position Statement. Try to keep the position statement to two to three pages, setting out briefly why you are applying for contact, and why you believe it to be in the children´s best interests. Be factual, and try to be objective in what you write, and the language you use.

A position statement is not essential, but it helps inform the judge, briefly and ideally succinctly, why you are applying for the order, and can assist you in court so you do not forget any points you wish to raise.

Before setting off for the court building, ensure you have with you:

Michael Robinson © 2014

Family law information for parents whose children are resident in England and Wales

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