Wardship Applications are however, a very useful tool in cases involving threatened or actual abduction of a child.
The minute an application for Wardship is lodged with the Court, the child becomes a Ward of Court without there having been a hearing, this can be a very useful mechanism when time is of the essence, in order to try and prevent a removal. If a child is made a Ward of Court the Court becomes their Legal Guardian and can make decisions in respect of that child such as, where they live.
Wardship Proceedings can be commenced by a wide group of people, the child themselves. The local authority or any person connected with a child, it doesn’t have to be that child’s parents. This can be effective when it is the parents with whom the child is in conflict with. Normally if someone who is not a parent of a child, wished to apply for an Order of the Court they would need what is called Leave of the Court to apply for an Order. Leave of the Court simply means permission of the Court.
Applying for Leave of the Court before actually applying for the further Order can take time and therefore, Wardship Orders are very effective, where time is of the essence.
Wardship Orders are particularly of use in countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention, as it is felt that if a child is a Ward of the High Court of England & Wales, the Order carries greater weight in the country to which the child has been removed, than an Order made under any other proceedings.
If a child is made a Ward of Court the High Court basically has custody of that child for that child’s protection. The day to day care of the child remains with the individual with whom the child lives or the Local Authority but the Court consent is required for important steps in that child’s life. The child cannot be removed from England and Wales without the Court’s permission, even by the parent with care or by both parents.
Wardship Orders are used in a number of emergency situations in which the Court needs to intervene to make Orders in relation to that child for example;
•Restraint of publicity
•Prevent an undesirable association
•Emergency medical treatment
•Protect a child from forced marriage
•And in abduction cases