Grandparents Rights —

Grandparents Rights

Grandparents’ rights

What are grandparents’ rights?

As solicitors that specialise in family law we frequently have grandparents who are denied any contact with their grandchildren. Sadly grandparents do not acquire an automatic right to their grandchildren. Having said that, the courts do recognise the priceless role that grandparents have to play in the lives of their grandchildren.

It is open to grandparents and other relatives, to make applications for leave to make an application for a s8 order under the Children act 1989. Applications by grandparents for contact are common. The requirement of permission is intended to act as a filter to protect the child and their family against unwarranted interference with their comfort and security, while ensuring that the child's interests are properly respected. The more tenuous the applicant's connection with the child, the harder it will be to obtain leave.

The permission criteria

Where the applicant is any person other than the child, when deciding whether or not to grant permission, the court must have particular regard to:

  1. the nature of the proposed application for the s 8 order
  1. the applicant's connection with the child
  1. any risk there might be of that proposed application disrupting the child's life to such an extent that they would be harmed by it, and
  1. where the child is being looked after by a local authority:
  1. the authority's plans for the child's future, and
  1. the wishes and feelings of the child's parents
It is important to note that the paramount principle under ChA 1989, s 1(1) does not apply to applications for permission to make an application.

Persons applying for permission enjoy rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), particularly rights to a fair trial under art 6 and rights to respect for family life under art 8. It has been held that the minimum essential protection of those rights of a grandparent when making an application for leave is that judges are careful not to dismiss the application without full enquiry.

Only in extreme circumstance the court will refuse access to grandchildren. We have successfully helped many grandparents resolve disputes amicably and gain access to grandchildren.

If you need help with access to your grandchildren, call us today on 0113 8730032 or complete the enquiry form.