Family Justice Council: Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship

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1. This interim guidance is issued by the Family Justice Council with the approval of the Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, in response to some of the issues identified in Re P-S (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1407. Its primary purpose is to address cases where an extension to the statutory 26-week time limit is sought in order to assess potential special guardians, more fully, within public law proceedings.
2. In producing this guidance, the Council has worked closely with the President’s Public Law Working Group, chaired by Mr Justice Keehan and with the researchers commissioned by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, and led by CoramBAAF in partnership with Lancaster University, to review the research evidence on special guardianship. More comprehensive guidance on public law is expected later in the year but the Council felt there was a need to provide some interim guidance on special guardianship to assist practitioners, now, and to help start the process of change.

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