Grandparents may in the near future not require leave of the court for a Section 8 order

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Family court judge Mrs Justice Hogg returned Ellie Butler to her birth parents. The result, which later led to the sad killing of Ellie Butler, could be a turning point in the law on the area of grandparents’ ability to bring a Section 8 order or custody order. A judge’s role in law is to consider the welfare of the child which would be the paramount principle and grandparents’ can in the future now be given more consideration.

Grandparents’ currently in law do have a say, but it is the birth parents who are given first consideration in being given parental responsibility for a child. But this case may in the future lead to changes as to how grandparents can obtain parental responsibility more quickly and easier.

The government is still a working progress on such an emotive subject. The custody of a child is a huge and life changing decision which requires clear though and consideration. The government created the £19m ‘Adoption Support Fund’ to allow adopters to be able to access funds and adopt those children in need of a safe and caring family to care for them. Special guardianship orders are very common for grandparents. There may be an increase of such orders in the coming years if grandparents can demonstrate they can provide the right care and it is for the benefit of the child’s welfare.

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