Our client, Mrs X separated from her husband Mr Y 4 years ago, however as a result of their relationship, they have 2 children who they co-parent.

Mrs X and Mr Y regularly had difficulties in jointly making life decisions for the children that they resorted to the use of mediation and other forms of dispute resolution.

When the eldest child reached the end of his primary school life, the parents needed to decide upon a secondary school for the child for the new school year. Neither of the parents could agree on a school for the child to attend and required third party intervention.

We were instructed by Mrs X to advise her as to how to deal with the situation given that time was of the essence. We advised Mrs X to initially correspond with Mr Y to enable parents to negotiate and narrow down any of the issues causing disagreement. Unfortunately, a solution could not be agreed in this way and the parents were unable to agree which schools should be included on the education application.

We were able to assist Mrs X with an application for a Specific Issue for the Court to determine which of the schools outlined by both parent should be included within the education application as preferred options. The Court heard from both parties at a hearing whereby evidence of school reports and prospectuses were produced. At the hearing, the Judge confirmed that the parents very clearly both had the interests of the child at heart and understood the difficulties in determining future life choices as the younger child would almost certainly follow suit.

The proceedings concluded with a decision being made by the Judge as to the choices of schools the child could attend based upon their merit. The decision was made in a timely manner and without it, the application would not have been made in time, which could have resulted in the child attending an institution which may not have met all their education needs.

What is a Specific Issue Application?

A specific issue application is an application made under the Children Act 1989 within private law children proceedings. The Family Court has the jurisdiction to consider applications on very specific issues regarding children, usually relating to the child’s welfare.

The Court can hear emergency and without notice applications for specific issues where time is of the essence and whereby a decision is required urgently.

When would I make an application for a Specific Issue?

There are many situations during a child’s life when a parent has cause to apply to the Court. The following are examples:

  • Passport queries – where one parent will not agree to sign the passport application, or to return the passport at the return or commencement of a holiday, a parent may apply.
  • Holidays – if separated parents cannot agree as to when, where or how a holiday is to take place, the Court can make a determination as to the detail under an Order.
  • Education – a Court can determine education matters when separated parents are unable to agree matters between themselves.
  • Change of Name – If a parent wishes to change a child’s name, they must do so under this application. The Court can then determine whether this should take place if there is no consent by the other parent.
  • Return of a child – when a child has been removed from their primary carer, the Court can make an Order for the return of that child immediately under this provision.


Lupton Fawcett is a leading full-service law firm in Yorkshire. Our dedicated family law solicitors can be reached at any of our offices in Leeds, Sheffield, and York.

Within every area of law, we put your interests first. if you are affected by any of the matters raised in our case study and would like more advice on child custody, child arrangements orders or family mediation, then call today or complete the enquiry form and we will get back in touch with you quickly.

Lupton Fawcett has long been recognised for our expertise in Family law and Child law matters and we regularly act for clients across Yorkshire and throughout the United Kingdom including Bradford, Birmingham, Hull, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Nottingham. We can support your needs wherever you live in England, Wales & Northen Ireland.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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