Conciliation Appointments & Directions Hearings - to meet and agree what is best for a child

You may find that after you apply for an order under the Children Act that the court fixes a Conciliation Appointment or a Directions Hearing.

This is an informal hearing which is not open to members of the public. It will be held in private and only you, your partner, your solicitors, the judge and possibly the "Cafcass Officer", (The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services) will be present. Some courts ask you to also bring the children with you if they are over a certain age.

At a Conciliation Appointment you and your opponent will be given the opportunity to speak to a Cafcass Officer to see if you can agree on what is best for the children. If the children go to the court they may be seen on their own.

If you cannot reach an agreement then the court will set a timetable to decide how the case should continue.

For example, the court may decide that you and your opponent have to prepare statements to explain what you want for the children and then the Cafcass Officer has to prepare a report.

Usually the Cafcass Officer who prepares the report will not be the same Cafcass Officer who spoke to you at the Conciliation Appointment.

The Children's Voice - a person to represent a child at court