0208 974 7490

Based in

Kingston Upon Thames

Who is a special guardian?

A special guardian is often appointed by the Court to assume the long-term care and responsibility for a child when it is not possible for a child to live with their birth parents and adoption is not suitable. This may occur in situations where the child’s parents are unable to care for them due to various reasons, such as illness, substance abuse, or other challenges.


What rights and responsibilities does a special guardian have?

The rights and responsibilities of a special guardianship can vary, but they often include:

  1. Parental responsibility: Special guardians are typically granted parental responsibility for the child, which includes making decisions about the child’s upbringing, education and healthcare.
  1. Day-to-day care of the children: Special guardians are responsible for the day-to-day care of the child, including providing for their basic needs and ensuring their wellbeing.
  1. Contact with birth parents: Depending on the circumstances and the Court’s decision, special guardians may need to facilitate contact between the child and their birth parents or other family members.

What are the requirements to becoming a special guardian?

There are certain requirements that must be met to be eligible to become a special guardian, including that you must be over the age of 18 years, and you must not be the parent of the child.

Further, you (and anyone else if applied for jointly), can apply if:

  • You are already the child’s legal guardian; or
  • The child lives with you because of a child arrangements order; or
  • The child has lived with you for 3 of the past 5 years; or
  • You are the child’s relative or a foster parent, and the child has been living with you for at least 1 year; or
  • You have the agreement of anyone named in a child arrangements order as someone who the child will live with; or
  • You have the agreement of all the people with parental responsibility for the child; or
  • You have the agreement of the local council, if the child is in care.

If none of the above apply, then you will need to request special leave from the Court to make an application.

If you have questions about applying for a special guardian order (and the alternatives), talk to our specialist Family Law team today.


Written by Marie-Cecilia Ferreira


This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.

Portrait image of Marie Cecilia Ferreira, Solicitor at Rose & Rose

Marie-Cecilia Ferreira

Meet the team

Meet the team working for you. Click the photo to view that team members profile or use the button to send them an email.


Zubair Dharamsi

Aneta Kapron

Portrait image of Marie Cecilia Ferreira, Solicitor at Rose & Rose

Marie-Cecilia Ferreira

Clothilde Uy

Clothilde Uy