Mckenzie friend Prohibited steps orders


A prohibited steps order is a court order which prevents someone from doing something.

Although a prohibited steps order is often used to stop a parent from taking a child abroad or removing a child from a location ie school, it can also be used for a wide range of different reasons.

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

Under the Children Act 1989, a Prohibited Steps Order is "an order that no step which could be taken by a parent in meeting their parental responsibility for a child, and is of a kind specified in the order, shall be taken by any person without the consent of the court".

A Prohibited Steps Order fundamentally imposes a restriction against another parent preventing them from carrying out a particular act such as:
1. Removing a child from the UK;
2. Relocating with the child within the UK;
3. Changing a child's surname;
4. Changing a child's school, and
5. Issues arising in respect of medical treatment of a child.

It is important to note when considering an application for a Prohibited Steps Order, the child's welfare will be the Courts paramount consideration and it will have regard to the welfare checklist (Children Act 1989, s 1(3). When considering the welfare checklist, the Court must be satisfied that it would be in the child's interest to have a Prohibited Steps Order in place.

Can anyone have a prohibited steps order made against them?

As well as stopping a parent from taking their child abroad, prohibited steps orders are frequently used to stop a parent from doing something with their child, such as attending events or taking part in certain activities.

However, a prohibited steps order can actually be made against anyone. Having parental responsibility is not a prerequisite. What's more, a prohibited steps order may even be used on someone who is not a party to the proceedings.

Depending on the urgency, you can make a self-supporting application with or without notice against the other parent. An order can be made during the course of any ongoing family proceedings where the question arises with respect to the welfare of any child. Or in conjunction with another order in Children Act proceedings.