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Children Act 1989

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Powers of court

37Powers of court in certain family proceedings

(1)Where, in any family proceedings in which a question arises with respect to the welfare of any child, it appears to the court that it may be appropriate for a care or supervision order to be made with respect to him, the court may direct the appropriate authority to undertake an investigation of the child’s circumstances.

(2)Where the court gives a direction under this section the local authority concerned shall, when undertaking the investigation, consider whether they should—

(a)apply for a care order or for a supervision order with respect to the child;

(b)provide services or assistance for the child or his family; or

(c)take any other action with respect to the child.

(3)Where a local authority undertake an investigation under this section, and decide not to apply for a care order or supervision order with respect to the child concerned, they shall inform the court of—

(a)their reasons for so deciding;

(b)any service or assistance which they have provided, or intend to provide, for the child and his family; and

(c)any other action which they have taken, or propose to take, with respect to the child.

(4)The information shall be given to the court before the end of the period of eight weeks beginning with the date of the direction, unless the court otherwise directs.

(5)The local authority named in a direction under subsection (1) must be—

(a)the authority in whose area the child is ordinarily resident; or

(b)where the child does not reside in the area of a local authority, the authority within whose area any circumstances arose in consequence of which the direction is being given.

(6)If, on the conclusion of any investigation or review under this section, the authority decide not to apply for a care order or supervision order with respect to the child—

(a)they shall consider whether it would be appropriate to review the case at a later date; and

(b)if they decide that it would be, they shall determine the date on which that review is to begin.

38Interim orders

(1)Where—

(a)in any proceedings on an application for a care order or supervision order, the proceedings are adjourned; or

(b)the court gives a direction under section 37(1),

the court may make an interim care order or an interim supervision order with respect to the child concerned.

(2)A court shall not make an interim care order or interim supervision order under this section unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the circumstances with respect to the child are as mentioned in section 31(2).

(3)Where, in any proceedings on an application for a care order or supervision order, a court makes a residence order with respect to the child concerned, it shall also make an interim supervision order with respect to him unless satisfied that his welfare will be satisfactorily safeguarded without an interim order being made.

(4)An interim order made under or by virtue of this section shall have effect for such period as may be specified in the order, but shall in any event cease to have effect on whichever of the following events first occurs—

(a)the expiry of the period of eight weeks beginning with the date on which the order is made;

(b)if the order is the second or subsequent such order made with respect to the same child in the same proceedings, the expiry of the relevant period;

(c)in a case which falls within subsection (1)(a), the disposal of the application;

(d)in a case which falls within subsection (1)(b), the disposal of an application for a care order or supervision order made by the authority with respect to the child;

(e)in a case which falls within subsection (1)(b) and in which—

(i)the court has given a direction under section 37(4), but

(ii)no application for a care order or supervision order has been made with respect to the child,

the expiry of the period fixed by that direction.

(5)In subsection (4)(b) “the relevant period” means—

(a)the period of four weeks beginning with the date on which the order in question is made; or

(b)the period of eight weeks beginning with the date on which the first order was made if that period ends later than the period mentioned in paragraph (a).

(6)Where the court makes an interim care order, or interim supervision order, it may give such directions (if any) as it considers appropriate with regard to the medical or psychiatric examination or other assessment of the child; but if the child is of sufficient understanding to make an informed decision he may refuse to submit to the examination or other assessment.

(7)A direction under subsection (6) may be to the effect that there is to be—

(a)no such examination or assessment; or

(b)no such examination or assessment unless the court directs otherwise.

(8)A direction under subsection (6) may be—

(a)given when the interim order is made or at any time while it is in force; and

(b)varied at any time on the application of any person falling within any class of person prescribed by rules of court for the purposes of this subsection.

(9)Paragraphs 4 and 5 of Schedule 3 shall not apply in relation to an interim supervision order.

(10)Where a court makes an order under or by virtue of this section it shall, in determining the period for which the order is to be in force, consider whether any party who was, or might have been, opposed to the making of the order was in a position to argue his case against the order in full.

39Discharge and variation etc. of care orders and supervision orders

(1)A care order may be discharged by the court on the application of—

(a)any person who has parental responsibility for the child;

(b)the child himself; or

(c)the local authority designated by the order.

(2)A supervision order may be varied or discharged by the court on the application of—

(a)any person who has parental responsibility for the child;

(b)the child himself; or

(c)the supervisor.

(3)On the application of a person who is not entitled to apply for the order to be discharged, but who is a person with whom the child is living, a supervision order may be varied by the court in so far as it imposes a requirement which affects that person.

(4)Where a care order is in force with respect to a child the court may, on the application of any person entitled to apply for the order to be discharged, substitute a supervision order for the care order.

(5)When a court is considering whether to substitute one order for another under subsection (4) any provision of this Act which would otherwise require section 31(2) to be satisfied at the time when the proposed order is substituted or made shall be disregarded.

40Orders pending appeals in cases about care or supervision orders

(1)Where—

(a)a court dismisses an application for a care order; and

(b)at the time when the court dismisses the application, the child concerned is the subject of an interim care order,

the court may make a care order with respect to the child to have effect subject to such directions (if any) as the court may see fit to include in the order.

(2)Where—

(a)a court dismisses an application for a care order, or an application for a supervision order; and

(b)at the time when the court dismisses the application, the child concerned is the subject of an interim supervision order,

the court may make a supervision order with respect to the child to have effect subject to such directions (if any) as the court may see fit to include in the order.

(3)Where a court grants an application to discharge a care order or supervision order, it may order that—

(a)its decision is not to have effect; or

(b)the care order, or supervision order, is to continue to have effect but subject to such directions as the court sees fit to include in the order.

(4)An order made under this section shall only have effect for such period, not exceeding the appeal period, as may be specified in the order.

(5)Where—

(a)an appeal is made against any decision of a court under this section; or

(b)any application is made to the appellate court in connection with a proposed appeal against that decision,

the appellate court may extend the period for which the order in question is to have effect, but not so as to extend it beyond the end of the appeal period.

(6)In this section “the appeal period” means—

(a)where an appeal is made against the decision in question, the period between the making of that decision and the determination of the appeal; and

(b)otherwise, the period during which an appeal may be made against the decision.

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