19/09/2011 13:03

After a Section 91(14) has been granted, a person would need to gain permission to bring action to court. In this case, an application would be made to a court for the order to be lifted. This would be tested against a number of criteria to determine the outcome of the permission application.


The test on an application for permission is as set out in the case of Re A (Application for Leave) [1998] 1 FLR 1. The test is, does the application show any legal reason to take new evidence in front of the court? Quite simply, do you have any evidence to present to the court that could change the original ruling. The second test is, does the person under the order have a case to argue. A person must apply for permission with some point to argue, not simply to try again with the same argument as before. An example might be that parental responsibility was removed due to a persons living arrangements. If these changed to a more suitable situation, it could be argued that this is grounds to revisit the case. Courts have confirmed that to pass these tests, a person must show substantial arguments that their case is not hopeless.

The proper procedure to follow is to issue a C2 form, attaching a draft application and copies for service. The court will either grant the application on paper or will fix a hearing to determine it. The applicant is entitled to an oral hearing if he so requests.

A person will need first to explain how they have addressed the reasons that led to the original order being imposed. Sometimes, you might need to prove this change before a permission application is granted. This means that the court can decide what efforts the person has gone to to rectify their issues before creating stress for the opposing person by allowing a court hearing.

It is clear that a barring order is made in circumstances where a person is seen to be making both numerous and unreasonable family law applications. There has been a significant increase in attempts to finalise disputes in courts, to prevent long-standing disputes, which can disrupt family lives. Therefore, many examples of barring orders are diminishing where a judge has been has been too harsh or has ignored human rights in the main applications.

In summary, barring orders are meant to be reserved for the most extreme cases, but is often applied to fathers who are seeking a reasonable level of contact with their own children. If you find yourself under a barring order, it is vital that you take action by changing your situation to nullify the original reasons for the order. This would give you the best chance to challenge the order and get a better result from the court.

Also see this new update from Rhiannon Davies, of New Walk Chambers, reviews the latest judicial thinking surrounding applications for s91(14) Children Act orders.