Police ‘don’t need permission’ to interview wards of court

family law

The Police and other investigatory agencies longer need the permission of judges to interview wards of court, a senior judge has declared.

As the name suggests, ‘wards of court’ are children involved in family cases who have been taken into the temporary guardianship of a court. In a newly issued circular, Family Division President Sir James Munby explains that Family Court Practice Direction 12D has been revised.

It now reads:

“There is no requirement for the police or any other agency carrying out statutory powers of investigation or enforcement to seek the permission of the court to interview a child who is a ward of court. The fact that a child is a ward of court does not affect the powers and duties of the police or other statutory agencies in relation to their investigations.”

The revision follows a case heard earlier this year in which Sir James concluded that the previous wording, stating the opposite, was “impossible to reconcile” with other legal principles and “in significant part…simply wrong”.

Photo by Mac McCreery via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

View more from this author

Leave a comment