Special Guardianship / Adoption

Family Law Hertfordshire, Child Law Barnet Hertfordshire, Legal Aid Barnet Hertfordshire


There are many circumstances that would lead to the making of a Special Guardianship Order. It may be that a natural parent has passed away, or through social services and court involvement, a decision has been taken that the natural parent is unable to care for a child or there is a family agreement that, in all the circumstances, it would be better for your child to be cared for by a relative.

The definition of a Special Guardianship Order, (SGO), is 'an order of the court under the Children Act 1989 which grants the holder(s) parental responsibility over a child until they reach the age of 18. This enables the special guardian(s) to make day-to-day decisions on behalf of the child, for example in relation to their education.' A Special Guardianship Order was designed to fill the 'gap' between adoption where all natural family ties are severed, and a Child Arrangements Order where the special guardian holds equal parental responsibility with the natural parent. It provides an enhanced parental responsibility and allows the special guardian to make various decisions on behalf of the child without reference to the natural parent.

Special Guardianship Orders are often considered in Care proceedings where the court has concluded that the natural parent is unable to care for the child, but there is a realistic option of keeping the child within the birth family.

If you are considering becoming a Special Guardian, Enfield Family Law can provide legal assistance and representation to get you through the, sometimes complex web.


An Adoption Order is a very serious order for both you and the child. Adoption severs all ties with the birth / natural family and give the adoptive child inheritance rights within their new, adoptive, family as if they were a natural / birth child of the family.

At the conclusion of care proceedings the Court may be asked to make a Placement Order, an order that will allow the local authority to place your child for adoption. Whilst the Placement application will be dealt with within the context of the Care proceedings, you may receive further documentation many months later when a proposed adoptive family have applied to the court for an Adoption Order. By this stage, your circumstances may have changed dramatically and you will have an opportunity to make representation to the Court as to why the order should not be made.

You may be a carer that is seeking to formalise the child's status within your family.

ENFIELD FAMILY LAW has a wealth of experience in Special Guardianship Orders and Adoption Orders and can assist with the legal process from beginning to end.

Legal Aid may be available. Please call for further information.