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the end of March 1997.  The scope of a supervision order is not defined.107  The court can order the parent to pay maintenance to the Director.108  The supervision order ceases when the child is 18 years.109  It may be varied, discharged, suspended or revived on the application of either parent or, a guardian, or by any person having custody by an order under section 10, or on the application of the Director when he has a supervision order in his favour.110

2.52The court must hear the representations of the Director, including representations on maintenance of the child, before ordering a child to be committed to the Director’s care.111  Section 17 provides that the court can also order the Director to make a report to the court where the court is considering an application under section 10 (custody or access) or section 14(2).112  Strangely, the court does not have a similar power when ordering the child to be committed to the supervision of the Director.  It might be assumed that it would be only after such enquiry that the Director would seek a supervision order, or that the court would only consider making such an order after receipt of such a report.   

2.53There is no time limit specified for the expiration of a care order.  However, since the ordinance uses the term “minor” and this is defined in section 3 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1) as a person who has not yet attained 18 years, the care order expires at 18 years.  The time limit of 16 on a supervision order has been removed by section 4 of the Marriage and Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance (Ord. No. 69 of 1997).

2.54No provision is made under section 13(1)(b) or associated sections for parents to apply for access to a child who has been the subject of a care order.  It could be argued that section 10 is broad enough for parents to apply for access.  It should be noted that section 10(1) includes reference to an “application of either of the parents of a minor (who may apply without next friend)”.  This would imply that the minor could apply himself for access to a parent, whether the minor was in the custody of a parent, guardian, or third party or the Director of Social Welfare.

Guardian of the estate

2.55Section 18 confirms the principle that a guardian is not only guardian of the child’s person, but also of his estate.  The Court of First Instance retains its power to appoint a guardian of the estate either generally or for a specific purpose.113

2.56The powers of a guardian and parent may not be co-extensive.  For example, a surviving parent can object to a testamentary guardian.  A testamentary

107 However, section 34B of the Protection of Children and Juveniles Ordinance (Cap 213) states that the duty of a supervisor is to advise, assist, and befriend the supervised person.  Section 34A puts the supervised person under a duty to comply with requirements of residence, medical or surgical attention or treatment.  The wishes of the parent or guardian, but not the child, can be taken into consideration.

108 Section 13(2).

109 Section 14(1).

110 Section 14(2).

111 Section 15(1).

112 Application to vary or discharge a supervision order.

113 Section 18(2).

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