The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO) and the Family Justice Data Partnership have published new research (here). The study explores the types of orders applied for by non-parents in England and Wales over four years (2017/18 to 2020/21). Non-parents include grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, step-parents, special guardians, foster carers, intended parents in surrogacy cases and putative fathers.

The research found that approximately 10% of private law applications, around 5,800 applications in England and Wales, are made by or in conjunction with people who are not parents. A wide variety of orders were applied for, but most applications were for Child Arrangements Orders at 56% in England and 59% in Wales. Grandparents accounted for 58% of all non-parents in England and 63% in Wales.

Overall, applications disproportionately involved people living in the more deprived areas of England and Wales.

Other highlights of the research include:

  • There was an overlap in applications for private and public law proceedings (care proceedings) involving the same child(ren) by at least 38%;
  • The overlap between private and public law applications happened when there were concerns for children’s safety or welfare;
  • 9% of applications in England and 6.0% in Wales were special guardianship applications;
  • 16% of applications in Wales were adoption applications;
  • 2% of applications in England and 2.2% in Wales were parental responsibility applications; and
  • 7% of applications in England and 2.3% in Wales were parental orders in surrogacy cases.

If you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, step-parent, special guardian, foster carer, intended parents in a surrogacy case or a putative father and are seeking a private law application; please contact us for a 30-minute free video chat, web chat or telephone call to start the conversation and to see how we can help. We are available 24/7 through the following platforms:

Telephone: 0345 222 0452




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