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from a party who is entitled to custody or access.

13.71The Family Law Council report1347 expressed concern about the use of ex parte warrants, especially where the parent had removed a child from the family home due to domestic violence.  A parent who removes a child from the home because of violence and goes into hiding can be forced to reveal the whereabouts of the child.  The Council suggested that the issues of privacy, restricted use of records, protection against violence and measures to protect information given to the court, all needed to be addressed in amending the Family Law Act provisions.  

13.72The Family Law Council referred to section 50 of the Children Act 1989 which gives power to the court to issue a recovery order.  Any person who has parental responsibility for the child or the police can apply.  The court gives a direction to a person to produce the child on request to any authorised person.  This authorised person can then remove the child.  Any person with information as to the child’s whereabouts must disclose it if requested to do so.  Section 50 also authorises search and entry of a premises to find the child.  However, the report does not refer to the fact that section 50 only applies to children who are in care, or the subject of an emergency protection order, or in police protection.

13.73The Family Law Council suggested that these provisions of the English Act were inadequate as they did not deal with the need to protect women against violent husbands or the issue of privacy of records kept by government agencies.1348

13.74Instead, it proposed that there would be an application for a declaration that the applicant was a person with parental responsibility.  Then, that person would seek a “location order” to have government agencies search their records to locate the address.  The order would also give directions in relation to the short term care of the child until issues of residence and contact were resolved.  The court could prohibit the abducting party from “moving on”.1349

Location order

13.75Section 67J(1) of the Family Law Reform Act 1975 defines a location order as an order of the court requiring a person to provide information on the child’s location.1350  Section 67L provides that the child's best interests are the paramount consideration in making such an order.  Section 67K sets out the persons who may apply for a location order:

“A location order in relation to a child may be applied for by:

(a)a person who has a residence order in relation to the child; or

(b)a person who has a contact order in relation to the child; or

a person who has a specific issues order in relation to the child under which the person is responsible for the child's long-term or day-to-day care, welfare and development; or

1347 The UK Children Act 1989, (1994) at paragraph 75.

1348 Paragraph 79.

1349 This phrase is not explained in paragraph 81.

1350 As inserted by the Family Law Reform Act 1995, which repealed the existing Part V11 of the 1975 Act.

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