About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Contact & residence

I was asked by a Judge in Brentford County Court the other day whether it was possible to make a contact order without first making a residence order. Quick as a flash, my opponent, who had the benefit of having been asked this by the same Judge recently was able to answer by pointing to this paragraph in the Red Book (in the footnotes to s 8 of the Children Act 1989):

Contact orders cannot be made without first determining with whom a child lives—Contact orders cannot be made without first determining with whom a child lives, since it is the residential parent who allows the child to stay with the person who has a contact order in their favour (Re B (A Child) [2001] EWCA Civ 1968). However, there does not need to be a residence order in force before there can be a contact order.

Actually on reading the judgment I am not sure that it is clear authority for the proposition that a residence order is not necessary but it is probably as close as it gets. The case arose because a Judge had managed to get himself into a pickle by ordering contact to both parties and as Ward LJ said a shared contact order is a creature unknown to law.

1 comment:

Nadia said...

I have dealt with exactly the same issue at the Medway County Court although in my case when the District Judge was referred to the same commentry in the Red Book the District Judge responded that he was not bound by it and chose to ignore it!