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My child has been made a Ward of Court - what does this mean?

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Under the power of Wardship, the High Court can become a legal guardian for a child. This is only used when it has become necessary to protect and safeguard a child’s welfare.

What is Wardship?
Wardship is the name that is given to Court Proceedings where a child is made a ‘Ward of Court’. This means that the High Court have the ultimate guardianship of the child to ensure their safety and protection. The child’s day-to-day care remains with either the parents, an individual or the Local Authority, however for any important step in the child’s life this will require the Court to provide their consent. A child cannot be removed from England and Wales without the permission of the Court.

The Court will hold Parental Responsibility for the child and they will share this with those who already hold Parental Responsibility, for example the parents or Local Authority.

Examples of when the Court’s consent may be needed include:
- significant medical or psychiatric examination and treatment of the ward;
- marriage of the ward;
- change in the ward’s education, residence or whereabouts;
- the ward moving foster placements;
- any adoption proceedings in respect of the ward; and
- changing the ward’s name.

Who can apply for Wardship?
- Any person who has a genuine interest in or relation to the child;

- The child; and

- The Local Authority (with the Court’s permission)

Who can become a Ward of Court?
Any child under the age of 18 who is in England and Wales can be made a Ward of Court. An unborn child cannot be made a Ward of Court.

When might a child be made a Ward of Court?

It may be necessary for a child to be made a Ward of Court to:

- restrain publicity;

- to prevent an undesirable association;

- for emergency medical treatment;

- to protect a child from a forced marriage; and/or

- to protect abducted children or children where the chase as another foreign element.

Wardship should not be used to place a child in Local Authority care or supervision.

How can I apply for a child to be made a Ward of Court?

An application must be made to the High Court using a form C66 with a supporting document detailing the grounds for the application

How does Wardship end?

Wardship will expire when the child reaches the age of 18. If a care order is made in regard to the child Wardship will also be terminated.

Should you require representation at Court or need advice regarding a Ward of Court then please contact Emery Johnson Astills at either our Leicester Office on 0116 2554855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610312 and ask for a member of the Care Team so that we can advise you accordingly. Alternatively please email us on careteam@johnsonastills.com and a member of or team will be happy to assist you.