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(1)Where a person has applied for [F1a residence order in relation to] a child, it shall be an offence, except with the authority of a court or under authority conferred by any enactment or on the arrest of the child, to remove the child from the [F2care and possession] of the applicant against the will of the applicant if—
(a)the child has been in the care and possession of that person for a period or periods before the making of the application which amount to at least three years; and
(b)the application is pending in any court.
F3 [( 2 )In any case where subsection (1) applies, and the child—
(a) was being looked after by a council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 before he began to have his home with the applicant, and
(b)continues to be looked after by such a council,
the council by whom the child is being looked after shall not remove him from the applicant’s care and possession except—
(i)with the applicant’s consent;
(ii)with the leave of the court; [F4or]
(v)in accordance with an order or warrant under that Act of 2011.]
(3)Any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding [F7level 5 on the standard scale] or both.
(4)The Secretary of State may by order, a draft of which has been approved by each House of Parliament, amend subsection (1) to substitute a different period for the period mentioned in that subsection (or for the period which, by a previous order under this subsection, was substituted for that period).
F8 [( 5 ) In this section “ looked after ” and “ residence order ” have the meanings given respectively by section 17(6) and section 11(2)(c) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995; and “ residence order ” shall have the same meaning in sections 52 and 53 of this Act. ]
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