Wardship can be useful in complex family and assisted reproduction cases where the legal status and rights of children are at issue and where children are in a legally vulnerable situation.
The High Court of England and Wales can in certain circumstances exercise its inherent jurisdiction and make a child a ward of court. This effectively places the child under the protection of the High Court.
Wardship will only be invoked where there is no clear legal solution under the Children Act 1989 to safeguard a child’s welfare under English law, leaving a child at risk. Situations where a child could be made a ward of court include:
- A child has been born through an overseas surrogacy arrangement and there is an international conflict of law about their legal parentage and parental responsibility.
- For the purposes of emergency medical treatment for a child.
- To prevent an undesirable association with a child (e.g. to prevent exploitation of a child).
- To restrain publicity.
We have preeminent expertise in complex wardship proceedings concerning modern families and children born through assisted reproduction. Our founder, Louisa Ghevaert, has litigated leading and landmark cases involving wardship proceedings, shaping law and practice in this specialist area.