Prohibited Steps Order
What is a Prohibited Steps Order?
A prohibited steps order (PSO) is an order that stops a parent who has parental responsibility (PR) from exercising that PR in relation to the issue set out in the PSO. In other words the prohibited steps order would stop a parent from doing something regarding a child as set out in the order without the permission of the court. A PSO tells a parent what they cannot do in respect of their child or children.
What are Prohibited Steps Orders used for?
Generally the reasons prohibited steps order are used is to stop a child being removed from a particular parent’s care; preventing a child being removed from the jurisdiction (England and Wales); stopping a child being removed from their school and ensuring a child's name is not changed.
Often PSO's are emergency orders and may be made at without notice hearings (ex-parte) where the respondent is not at that time aware of the application or invited to attend.
You do have to demonstrate to the court there is a need for an emergency hearing because a possible important change in a child's circumstances or to a child's welfare. Otherwise a hearing will be listed as normal.
Applying for a Prohibited Steps Order
There is a requirement before applying for a prohibited steps order to attend a mediation and assessment meeting (MIAM) unless an exemption applies.
We would recommend you attend court whether without notice (ex-parte) or on notice with a professionally drafted position statement as this will explain your reasons for applying for the PSO or opposing such to the court in a format that assists them understand your argument.
Prohibited steps orders have to be related to parental responsibility although the respondent may not have parental responsibility.
Prohibited steps orders will not be made if the result is the same as an occupation order or non-molestation order; they are not to be made if the outcome could be achieved with a child arrangements order. They are not to be used for frivolous matters.
It is important that a prohibited steps order is clear and specific.
Courts are unlikely to make a prohibited steps order against the wishes of what they believe is a competent child but could do if needed to protect a child's welfare.