Specific Issues Orders
A specific issues order (SIO) is
made under section 8 of the Children Act 1989
A specific issues order gives
directions for determining a specific question
that has arisen, or that may arise, in connection
with any aspect of parental responsibility for a
The areas of parental
responsibility where issues may occur are:
providing a home for the child
protecting and maintaining the
disciplining the child
choosing and providing for the
agreeing to the childs
naming the child and agreeing to
any change of name
looking after the childs
Examples of applications
under specific issues could be:
Which school a child should
Whether the child should have
What religion the child should be
Whether the surename of the child
should be changed.
A specific issues order
should not be made:
Where a child has attained the age
of 16 years and should not have affect beyond the
age of 16 unless there are exceptional
circumstances in which case it concludes when the
childs attaines the age of 18 years.
Where the child is in the care of
the local authority.
Where it in any way denies to the
High Court the exercise of its inherent
jurisdiction with respect to children.
Where the matter could be more
appropriately dealt with by a Child Arrangements
That the matter being considered
is not in relation to a Parental Responsibility
Considerations by the
The primary consideration of the
court is that of the welfare of children. The
paramount interests of the children are paramount
when any orders are made.
The Child Welfare
In making an order, the court must
give full regard to the factors of the Child
Welfare Checklist. The court must also be
satisfied that it would be better and in the best
interests of the child to make an order than not.
What if my application is
In exceptional circumstances, an
application can be made urgently and without
notice. This means that the other party is not
notified about the hearing (Ex Parte). There
needs to be strong evidence to support the
application. At the urgent hearing, a temporary
order may be considered and served on the other
party. Both parties will be required to attend a
further hearing for directions, and if contested,
a tiral date would be set.
What if the Specific
Issuess Order is breached?
Where a specific issues order has
been breached, an application can be made for
committal for contempt of court. The order must:
1) Have been endorsed with a
2) It must in clear terms outline
what the defendant must / must not do.
3) Be time specific, i.e have
clear times outlining the period when the act
must not be done.
4) Must not be ambiguous.
5) The order must have been served
ont e defendant.
The court will apply the criminal
standard of proof of 'beyond reasonable doubt' to
deterime whether the order has knowingly been