Judge clarifies role of children`s guardian during supervision order

Where care proceedings result in a supervision order, those
proceedings are not effectively concluded until the order has
ended. So the role of the children’s guardian continues for the
duration of the order unless otherwise ordered by the court.

That was the decision of Mr Justice Wall in the family division
on in the cases of In re MH and In re SB and MB, brought concerning
section 12 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000
(CCJCSA), regarding the continued involvement of the children’s
guardian in cases where a supervision order had been made at the
conclusion of care proceedings. He ordered that the case could be
reported, but only on condition of strict anonymity for the parties

In both cases care proceedings had concluded with the making of
a supervision order for one year in favour of the appropriate local
authority. In each case the guardian ad litem, now re-designated
the children’s guardian, sought guidance from the court as to what
role, if any, they should have during the term of those supervision

Following the implementation of the Children Act 1989 a series
of decisions had established that the children’s guardian appointed
in care proceedings had no function once the proceedings had been
concluded. The question was whether, in relation to supervision
orders, that position had been altered by Chapter II (particularly
by section 12(5)) of the CCJCSA.

The judge said that the section did not just clarify the
functions of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support
Service (CAFCASS), but enabled the children’s guardian to remain in
post. It was not only compatible with the functions of CAFCASS, but
also provided a way for breaches of the child’s rights under the
European Convention on Human Rights to be prevented.

Bernadette Livesey

Human Rights Solicitor

Walker Morris

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