Parental Contact Orders

Constitutional Affairs written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Shadow Secretary of State for the Family

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2005, Official Report, column 568W, on parental contract orders, how many of the 67,184 cases of disputed contact dealt with by the courts in 2003 were related to previous contact orders made in the same year.

Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs)

This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, I would refer the right hon. Member to the Consultation Paper "Relationship Breakdown: Children's Needs and Parent's Responsibilities" (page14) where it confirms that "in just over half of the 300 cases surveyed as part of my Department Consumer Strategy work, there was at least one repeat application". It should be noted that this figure was, however, based on a limited sample in three courts and was just a snapshot at one point in time (the survey was carried out during February 2004). It is not known how many of the repeat orders related to previous orders in the same year.

It is important to note that not all repeat applications indicate conflict. It is common for orders to be revised to recognise a geographical move, change in working hours, or children getting older and needing different arrangements.

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