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Kinship Care Special Guardianship (SGO)

We are here to offer you specialist advice on special guardianship. Meet our team of experts to provide you with a tailor made service to assist you. At GLC we have experienced lawyers who are specialists in this area of law.

As a Grandparent with full time care of your grandchild you might need to consider Special Guardianship. Special Guardianship is where you take on the responsibility of caring for your grandchild until they are 18 years of age. It gives you Parental Responsibility (PR) for your grandchild over and above that of the parents. In essence you have 51% PR and the parents retain 49%, however, as the child resides with you, if the parents do not agree then you can overrule them.

A Special Guardianship Order is less severe than adoption as the child retains a link to their parents but more substantial than a Child Arrangement Order (previously known as Residence/Custody) as with a Child Arrangement Order you share Parental Responsibility for the child with the parents.

At GLC we can give you expert legal advice and represent you in an application for Special Guardianship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. If you are related to the child and they have lived with you for over a year, you are entitled to apply for the Order. If the child has lived with you for less than a year, you will require the Court’s permission to apply first. You can instruct us at GLC to make your application for you and be your legal advisors and representatives in your case.

A Special Guardianship Order is usually most appropriate when the parents of the child are unlikely to be able to work with the grandparents to make decisions in the child’s best interests. If the parents still have their own issues, it is often necessary for the grandparents to make decisions without the parents when appropriate or if there are disagreements.

A Special Guardianship Order also makes it harder for the parents to have the child returned to their care so is usually the most appropriate order if it is unlikely that the child will be returned to the care of their parents.

At GLC we will be able to tell you if Special Guardianship is right for you and your grandchild.

If the Court does not make a specific Order in relation to contact, the arrangements must be made between you and the parents and will ultimately at your discretion. You should follow the Local Authority’s recommendations but you are at liberty to change arrangements in line with the child’s best interests throughout the life of the Order.

You need to apply to the Court. In most cases you will need to show that you have tried mediation with the parents first. There is a Court fee.

AT GLC we will guide you through this legal process and represent you in Court.

Since April 2013, legal aid is not available for Special Guardianship applications. If the child has been placed with you by the Local Authority and they have advised you to seek the Order, it is possible that they will agree to help with the cost of making the application and/or representation at hearings. We can ask your local authority if they will meet our costs in being your legal advisors and representatives in your application. If they will not pay, we can discuss other funding options with you.


We believe in making access to the right advice as simple as possible. Often, we can make a real difference in a single or planned series of phone advice sessions from as little as £75. Call today to speak to our enquiry team. Call today to speak to our enquiry team for a free initial consultation.

Nigel Priestley

Senior Partner, MBE
Nigel Priestley is a Senior Partner of Ridley & Hall Solicitors and a community care and adoption specialist solicitor. He is a member of the Children’s Panel and regularly represents children and parents in care proceedings. ...

James Cook

Head of Child Care & Public Law Team
James Cook trained and qualified at a South Yorkshire firm where he specialised in family and immigration law. ...
Clare Linden Headshot

Clare Linden

Clare joined Ridley & Hall Solicitors as a Partner in 2018. Clare graduated from Durham University and completed her legal training at the College of Law in York in 2006. Clare qualified as a solicitor in 2008 when she re-located to Leeds to join the niche family law firm McAras and was made a partner in 2013 following the firm’s merger with Simpson Millar solicitors in Leeds....
Headshot Helen Moody

Helen Moody

Helen completed her degree in law in 2009 before continuing her studies part time on the Legal Practice Course whilst working in a solicitors firm in Wakefield to gain experience. Helen joined Ridley & Hall in January 2012 after completion of the Legal Practice Course,  initially as a Legal Assistant working alongside Nigel Priestley to build up experience in the Public Law department. Helen completed her training contract at Ridley & Hall and qualified as a solicitor in October 2016....

Laura Milburn

Laura has many years of legal experience and was called to the Bar in 2010.  After qualifying as a Barrister, Laura cross-qualified to become a Solicitor in 2012.   Laura is a passionate advocate and has used her advocacy and negotiation skills on behalf of many clients over the years. ...

Sarah Brown

Associate Solicitor
Sarah joined Ridley & Hall in 2010 following the completion of her Law Degree. Whilst working at Ridley & Hall she studied the Legal Practice Course part time over two years, completing it in 2012....
Rosie Turner Grandparents Legal Centre

Rosie Turner

Rosie primarily assists clients on a variety of issues in relation to kinship care, particularly claiming allowances and back dated payments for kinship carers from Local Authority’s. Rosie also assists clients with Special Guardianship Order applications and advice in relation to the support that is available under Special Guardianship Orders....

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