What is a Prohibited Steps Order?
A Prohibited Steps Order is a form of injunction prohibiting a parent from doing something. It can only be made in relation to an aspect of parental responsibility.
A Prohibited Steps Order is able to impose a restriction on a single issue. For example, on changing a child’s surname, removing a child from the UK (where there is no child arrangements Order in force) or in connection with the medical treatment of a child.
How to Get a Prohibited Steps Order in the UK
In order to apply, you are required to submit a C100 application form to the court. A referral to mediation first may be necessary; however, this does not apply to situations where domestic abuse has occurred in urgent situations. A Court Hearing will be listed to consider the application that all parents must attend unless there are exceptional circumstances and strong evidence that means an urgent Hearing without notice being given to the other parent is necessary. The Court may make an interim Order and then invite the other parent to attend a further Hearing to discuss whether this then stays in place.
How Long Does a Prohibited Steps Order Last?
Typically speaking, a prohibited steps Order lasts until the child reaches 16 years of age; however, this is case-dependent. In some instances, the court will set a different period of time or this may be replaced by a Child Arrangements Order.
Can a Prohibited Steps Order be Enforced?
There are provisions to assist in enforcing Orders where, for example, a person refuses to handover a child. The court can, in appropriate cases, make an Order authorising an officer of the court to take charge of a child to deliver them to the person concerned. There are also powers to Order disclosure of a child’s whereabouts.
Where there are concerns that a child may be removed from the UK, an “all ports warning” can be made prohibiting the child from being taken out of the country. The court can also order the surrender of a passport relating to a child.
Depending upon the nature of the Order, where an Order has been breached an application may be made for committal to prison for contempt of court.
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