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Emergency Protection Orders

Emergency Protection Order Solicitors

What is an emergency protection order?

An emergency protection order is used in exceptionally serious situations. It gives:

  • limited parental responsibility for the child to whoever applied for the order. This parental responsibility is limited to whatever is needed for the child’s welfare, and
  • the right to remove the child (or prevent their removal) from where they are now.
Who can apply for an emergency protection order?

Anyone can apply to the court for an emergency protection order if they fear that a child is in imminent danger. For example, if you’re a family member who has very serious concerns that a child is being abused, you could apply for an emergency protection order. Almost all applications are made by the local authority but on very rare occasions the police or the NSPCC could also apply.

Very often these applications are made without notice being given to the parents or other interested parties and you will often find that the orders have been granted to a Local Authority without representatives for the child or parents being there. However, there are cases where the parents will have short notice. If this arises you do need to have a solicitors. We are Berris Law have an emergency 24 hr telephone line on which we can be contacted.

When will the court make an emergency protection order?

Before it can make an emergency protection order, the court must be satisfied that the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, unless:

  • they are taken away from where they are now, or
  • they stay where they are now. For example, the child might be in hospital, and the local authority is afraid harm will come to them if they are taken out of hospital.

The court will also need to be satisfied that it’s in the child’s best interests for the order to be made.

Instead of applying for an emergency protection order for the reasons listed above, the local authority or the NSPCC (but no-one else) could apply for an emergency protection order on the grounds that:

  • • they have been making enquiries to see whether the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, and
  • they can’t make proper enquiries because they are being denied reasonable access to the child, and
  • they believe that access to the child is needed as a matter of urgency.
What happens when an emergency protection order is made?

If necessary, the court can give the local authority permission to enter premises set out in the court order to search for the child.

The court can also issue a warrant authorising a police officer to go with the social workers if they are refused, or are likely to be refused, entry to the premises or access to the child. The police officer can help the social workers to remove the child or prevent the child’s removal.

It’s a criminal offence to obstruct someone from removing or preventing the removal of a child if there’s an emergency protection order in force.

If the social workers believe that there may be another child in the same premises, they can ask the court for an order allowing them to search for that child. If the child is found on the premises and the social workers believe that the conditions for making an emergency protection order are met, the search order has the effect of an emergency protection order and the other child can be removed immediately.

When the court makes an emergency protection order, it may attach other instructions (directions) to the order, for example:

  • • to allow medical examination or psychiatric or other assessments
  • to allow contact between the child and any named person
  • to exclude someone who has abused the child from the child’s home.
How long will an emergency protection order last?

The local authority must return the child to the parent as soon as it appears safe to do so. They must review the case every day to make sure the parents and child are not separated for longer than is needed. However, an emergency protection order can last for up to eight (8) days. And it can be extended by a further seven (7) days (that is 15 days in all), if the local authority or the NSPCC have applied for it and they go back to the court for permission to extend the order. The court may do this if they have a good reason to believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if the order isn’t extended.

While the emergency protection order is in force, the local authority may decide to begin care proceedings. It may then apply for an interim care order or supervision order.

What can I do when I receive an application for an EPO?

You must call a solicitor. It is an incredibly serious and draconian step that is being taken by the Local Authority and it is therefore vital that you have legal representation at any hearing.

We at Berris Law have many years of experience in this field and in particular, Julian Hayes an expert Child Panel solicitor who has obtained many positive outcomes for Children, parents and others involved in the care process. Please call on 020 3325 7415 for a free consultation.


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