New Clause 3 - Pilot scheme on early intervention

Part of Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 21 March 2006.

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Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 12:00, 21 March 2006

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 17—Allocation of cases—

‘(1)In any family proceedings in which a court has power to make an order with respect to a child, when allocating proceedings the court shall, upon receipt of an application relating to a child, have regard to—

(a)minimising delay to proceedings, and

(b)minimising the cost of proceedings, as far as is reasonably practicable.

(2)In deciding how to allocate proceedings in accordance with subsection (1), a court shall have regard to the availability of—

(a)mediation provided by an independent third party,

(b)mediation and conciliation provided in court,

(c)court time for the early determination of any disputed questions that arise within the proceedings, and

(d)the range of provisions available for providing the court with further information before making any decision.

(3)In deciding how to allocate proceedings in accordance with this section, a court shall have regard to any risk assessment provided in accordance with section 16A of the Children Act 1989 (c. 41) and shall, in the absence of such an assessment, consider whether to request such an assessment before proceeding.

(4)Rules of court may be made in order to set out the procedure for arranging hearings and making decisions in accordance with this section, including—

(a)the making of any application to a court,

(b)the arrangements for any hearing,

(c)the timing of hearings,

(d)the notification of any decisions made to the parties involved and others, and

(e)any other matter ancillary thereto.

(5)At any stage in any family proceedings to which this section relates the court may, upon the application of any party or of its own motion, arrange a further hearing to consider further the arrangements for the allocation of the case.’.

New clause 24—Contact orders: meeting with mediator—

‘After section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (c. 41) insert—

“8AContact orders: meeting with mediator

Applications for a contact order under section 8 must be stayed, unless by order of the court, until the applicant has attended a meeting with a mediator and the mediator has certified that mediation is not suitable to resolve the issue which is the subject of the application.”’.