Care proceedings are normally a confidential process, which means that only a very limited number of people can attend the court hearings.
Normally these people will be those who are directly involved in the case; the parents of the child/children, solicitors, social services and the court-appointed guardian.
Usually care proceedings can go ahead with just these people, but there are often situations where additional people will be required. These additional people are referred to as ‘intervenors’.
What is an intervenor?
Unlike a ‘party’, intervenors are people who may be affected by the outcome of a case and are therefore granted permission to join ongoing proceedings.
These individuals are granted permission by the courts, so are allowed to attend even if the parties do not agree. They are often only allowed to be involved with the limited part of the case that affects them. They therefore will not usually receive all of the papers, but only the relevant documents.
When would an intervenor be required?
The most common reason why an intervenor would be allowed to attend care proceedings is when a child/children have sustained a ‘non-accidental’ injury.
In this situation, an intervenor will be invited to join the case because they have come into contact with the child/children in the time period when the injury was said to have taken place.
Intervenors will be decided on towards the beginning of care proceedings and will be invited to put forward their case to their court regarding their involvement with or care of the child/children.
Who can be an intervenor?
Anyone who has come into contact with the child/children over a period of time relevant to the case can be granted permission to join court proceedings and present their case.
The most common people who may act as intervenors include:
● Extended family members
● Nursery staff
What do intervenors do in care proceedings?
Once someone has been identified as an intervenor, they will be provided with court documents relevant to the case and their involvement with the child/children’s injuries.
They will be required to attend court and take part in hearings where the court will decide whether the injuries the child/children sustained were accidental, or whether they were a result of abuse.
During this hearing, an intervenor will be able to give their side of the story to the court and provide any supporting evidence that backs up their claims.
What to do if you’re requested as an intervenor?
If you’ve been asked to act as an intervenor in care proceedings, you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible.
Any findings that are made against you by the court could have potentially negative consequences on your personal and professional life, so it’s important to not ignore this request.
Legal advice from National Legal Service
If you’ve been requested as an intervenor, or require legal advice in regard to care proceedings, get in touch with us today.
Our expert team of family solicitors has a wealth of experience working on a variety of family law cases, so can provide you with the advice and support you need.