Preparing Statements and Reports for Court

This guidance aims to assist staff working within Health and Social Services who may have to prepare a statement or report for use in family proceedings in court. The guidance is to be read along with the template statements






This guidance aims to assist staff working within Health and Social Services who may have to prepare a statement or report for use in family proceedings in court. 

The guidance is to be read along with the template statements.

Most statements will be prepared to support an application being made by the Department (e.g. for a Community Parenting Order) but it is possible that you will also be asked to prepare a statement for use in private law proceedings when the Department has important information relevant to issues in the case.

All Statements should be drafted only after discussion with a lawyer from St James, dealing with the case and will be checked by him/her (for LEGAL content only) prior to filing with the Court.

Statements should normally be prepared in draft, ideally five working days before it is required to be filed at Court. Once drafted, they should be approved by the social worker's supervisor, before sending to legal. Once the final version has been agreed, the original Statement should be signed and sent to the lawyer to file and serve.




Why strive for high standards in reporting to court or tribunal?


The layout of a statement is important because its content will only be noticed if it is accessible.


Common Pitfalls

Why write a statement you would not want to read yourself?

Time in planning a statement will be rewarded and preparation is key. Before you start:

v  Read the relevant records - question and verify information

v  Identify key issues




  Before you start writing you will need to know:


You will also need access to:


When it is written, ensure that your statement has:







            The content of the Statement should:



The Welfare Checklist


The Welfare Checklist S4 The Children (Guernsey and Alderney) Law 2008 should usually be considered in all statements prepared by social workers (unless just providing a factual report in private law proceedings).  If it has been covered in detail in an earlier statement, you can simply refer back and update as necessary.


  A chronology can be a useful document to include in a statement:



A court chronology should be:



Events to be included in the chronology may include:




            Research & Analysis


Should you cite research in your statement?



.           Analysis & Conclusions


This is the most important part of any statement. Make the conclusion FLOW from the rest of your statement (not look as though it is an afterthought!):



Consider whether your recommendation:



            Reviewing your statement


It is important to review your statement once drafted. One should consider if it is :


Ensure it is reviewed by manager (and peer reviewed where possible) before sending to the lawyer. 


.           Appendices:


 "I append to this Statement, (my report/the medical report/photographs etc) marked "Appendix 1.1" onwards.


When attaching documents of a third party, it is necessary to seek their consent to use the document first unless it was specifically prepared for use in the court proceedings.







  1. General guidance on format



The Statement must:


"The contents of this Statement are true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make the same, knowing that it is intended that the Statement is placed before a Court"



2.  Each Statement, regardless of the type or stage of the proceedings, should commence with the following key information on the front page (see templates for examples of layout):-


Name of Child:




Name of Court Order/Application:


Date of Court Hearing:


Type of Hearing:






Author of the report:


This report is strictly confidential and is restricted to Members and Officers of the Court and Parties to the case before the Court and their Advocates and such other persons as the Court may authorise



3.         The type and amount of detail included in each Statement will depend on the nature and stage of the proceedings for which it is prepared.



4.         The Statement should be signed and dated on the last page. The opening paragraph of any Statement should include details about the person making it (or should refer to a previous statement where that information was given previously).  These details are:





Set out below is guidance as to the information required in Statements prepared for the most common types of proceedings, together with suggested headings.




1.         Ex-parte applications


Where an ECPO is applied for on an ex-parte (i.e., without notice), or on abridged notice basis, there will not usually be sufficient time to prepare a detailed written Statement.  You still need to provide reasonable and proportionate evidence to support the application and wherever possible a concise statement should be prepared although the Social Worker may need to give evidence on an oral basis.  Use should be made of any relevant reports, e.g., medical reports and chronologies, available.  It should be noted that such reports used will need to be disclosed to the parties to the proceedings, unless leave not to do so is obtained from the Court.


2.         Applications on notice for ECPO's


Where the application is on notice, there should be time to prepare a Statement (albeit a brief one) for filing with the Court.  Again, consideration should be given to the use of any existing relevant reports.  The statement should focus in particular on the following


a)     Significant Harm:Information regarding the perceived risk of significant harm and nature of the emergency and why an emergency order is necessary, i.e., why the child "is suffering or at imminent risk of suffering serious harm."


b)     Need for an Order:Information as to why an order is better for the child than no order, e.g., details of attempts to work on a voluntary basis.


or details of why a voluntary agreement with the parents would not afford sufficient protection for the child.


c)     Directions/Powers;Details of any directions/other orders sought e.g., contact orders/plans to interview/medically examine a child and why. Whether a warrant is required to enter property.


d)    Care Plan: Details of the Interim Plan for the child for the period of the ECPO, (8 days maximum).




Initial Social Work Statement


1.         The Statement needs to be ready before the application is lodged.


2.         This initial Statement needs to set out the following:



3.         This statement should address the criteria for making the order:






S.49(2) (a) (i) - The S.35 Conditions


S35(2) (a) the child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant impairment to his health or development




S49(2) (a) (ii) there is no reasonable prospect of the child's parents, or any other member of the child's family being able and willing to provide the child with adequate care, protection, guidance and control and one of the 535 (2) conditions is made out (list?).


5.         It should not rehearse the factual information contained in the Chronology  and any Core Assessment, if completed.


6.         It should contain:



1.    The Template Statement for use in public law proceedings sets out suggested headings/layout.


Final Statements


Prior to the final hearing and after any assessments have been completed the Social Worker will need to submit a Final Statement and Care Plan to the Court, addressing the conclusions of those assessments and making a final recommendation to the Court.


The Statement and Care Plan should be sent to the relevant Lawyer a minimum of 5 workings days before the date for filing, unless agreed otherwise with the Lawyer.  The final evidence should be compiled, ideally, following a planning meeting involving relevant professionals, when the final recommendations and plans can be discussed.



Witness Statements from Others


Statements are likely to be required from persons other than the Social Worker during the course of the proceedings.  These may deal with the involvement of other people with the family previously or as part of assessments.  Legal advice as to the contents of such Statements needs to be sought, but in general, these should include details of the following:



The lawyer handling the case will normally be responsible for obtaining and finalising Statements from other individuals.





1.         Community Parenting Orders


In applications for Community Parenting Orders HSSD must file a document setting out full details of the Care Plan proposed for each child.  The Court cannot make a Community Parenting Order without first approving such a plan. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, it may be necessary to file an interim Care Plan at the commencement of the proceedings with a Final Care plan being filed in advance of the final hearing (e.g. where permanency planning has not yet been concluded. In such cases the c are plans must set out the short term plans and the stages of permanency planning being undertaken with timescales for each step)



2.         Applications involving siblings


Separate plans should be drawn up for individual children, where more than one child is the subject of the application.


3.         Approved by Senior Managers


The Care Plan must be approved by the relevant Social Services manager(s), prior to being presented to the lawyer and will need to be countersigned by that manager.


4.         Structure and Contents of the Care Plan


There is no specific guidance ion the Children Law on the specific content of care plans. However, it is helpful to have regard to the guidance used in England  - Department of Health Guidance on Care Plans LAC (99)29.  That sets out helpful headings that can be used as starting point for drafting a care plan. That guidance is used in the Template Care Plan but may need to be adapted for the particular circumstances of each case.


3.         Reasons and time-scales


Care Plans need to be understood by a range of professionals, the child and the child's family.  The following should be reflected in the wording of the Care Plan:



4.         Format of care plan


The Care Plan in the proceedings is a distinct and separate formal court document.  It is not required to be presented as a sworn statement or affidavit.  It should not be incorporated into a local authority statement of evidence.  It should not appropriately duplicate information in such statements, such as the child's history and evidential aspects of the proceedings.


Where during proceedings several plans have been produced, each should be numbered to avoid confusion.  This will help ensure that after the CPO is made, the particular numbered Care Plan is that understood by all parties and the court as being the operative one and may be referred to as such in any formal judicial communication.


The subsequent pages (also single sided), should set out the main elements of the Care Plan under clearly marked headings.  These should correspond with sections 1 to 5 as shown on the Template Care Plan.  Paragraph numbers will aid communication in court.


5.         It is important that the first page of the Care Plan under "type of hearing", should clearly distinguish between Interim Care Plans for review hearings and the final Care Plan for the final hearing.





Author: William Simmonds 
Children's Lawyer , Law Officers of the Crown

August  2011