There are 4 main types of hearings in Care Proceedings.
This identifies the issues of the case and allows for any interim orders to be made until the end of the case whilst evidence is obtained for a final decision to be made at the end of the case. The Court will make various case management directions to obtain the relevant evidence to be able to make a decision at the IRH or Final Hearing.
Issues resolution hearing
The IRH will establish the key arguments and opinions in the case. If the issues have all been resolved then the case may end at this hearing with a final order. Otherwise, it provides a path towards the Fact Finding Hearing and/or Final Hearing.
Fact finding hearing
At the Fact Finding Hearing the judge/magistrates analyse and cross-examine evidence and arguments. This will establish whether or not a local authority’s allegations and worries are true. The parents and their solicitor or barrister will provide a response to those allegations. The Court will then weigh up the evidence on the balance of probabilities and state what facts have been found to be true.
The judge will consider all evidence at the Final Hearing and in particular consider what is the best decision in the welfare interests of the child. The judge may decide on no order, or may decide on a variety of different orders – such as a Child Arrangements Order – instead of a Care Order.
Care Proceedings can be traumatic for all involved. Enlisting the service of a specialist family law solicitor is essential. If you have any more questions then please contact Waldrons Solicitors today.