S.8 Orders Step 2


Court Procedure

Where are the Proceedings Issued?

  • A Section 8 Application can either be made at a Family Proceedings Court (a Magistrates Court) or at a County Court.
  • However, if there are Divorce Proceedings and/or Ancillary Relief Proceedings taking place, it is usual for the Section 8 Application to be made at a County Court.
  • The Court will then list the matter for what is known as a First Directions Appointment.

First Directions

Once the child’s parents, have issued an application the court will set a hearing to determine what evidence is required to be placed before the court in order for the court to decide the issue.


The task of the Court at the first appointment is to investigate:

  • The issues,
  • Enquire into the possibility of settlement; and,
  • Give directions.

If the matter can be settled by agreement, the terms of the agreement will be recorded in a court document and approved by the court. However, if no such agreement can be reached, the court will make the necessary directions to progress the matter.


The court expect the parents of the child to attend a meeting with the court welfare CAFCASS officer before the hearing, to see whether issues can be resolved by agreement, or whether any compromises can be reached. The role of CAFCASS is to:

  • Give direction to the child,
  • Either or both parents filing a witness statement, or
  • Ask for expert evidence to be obtained.
  • CAFCASS will then report back to the court.

Review Hearings

  • In most cases the court will schedule a review hearing after the CAFCASS report has been filed.
  • In the best of circumstances the parties will be able to agree a resolution with the guidance provided by the CAFCASS officer, to enable the court to make a final order and end the case.
  • However, if after the report has been filed and, the parties are still unable to agree, then the court will set a date for the final hearing.
  • The court may also make an interim order to settle arrangements until a final order can be made.

Final Hearing

  • When the parties haven’t been able to resolve the issues between them despite having CAFCASS guidance, a final hearing is held by the court.
  • The court will hear oral evidence from the parties, who will then be cross-examined by the other parties’ legal representative, and in some instances from the CAFCASS officer or any other expert nominated by the court.
  • Once the evidence and legal submissions have been heard the Judge will impose an order dealing with the application formally.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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