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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 116: Definition of family proceedings

Section 116 amends Article 8(4) of the Children Order to add proceedings for Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (“FGMPOs”) in Northern Ireland, under Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (other than paragraph 20 of that Schedule), to the list of proceedings which are “family proceedings” for the purpose of the Children Order. Paragraph 20 of Schedule 2 to the 2003 Act provides for circumstances in which FGMPOs may be made by the court during criminal proceedings. The exception in relation to paragraph 20 of Schedule 2 is to make clear that such criminal proceedings are not to be defined as "family proceedings" for the purpose of the Children Order.

The intention is to allow an applicant for an FGMPO to also apply for a care or supervision order (or other such appropriate order under the Children Order) as part of the same proceedings, rather than having to make separate applications for such orders. It will also mean that when a court is dealing with a FGMPO, it will also have powers available under the Children Order to make other orders regarding the welfare of the child. This will increase the ability of the court to protect children at risk.

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