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What is an emergency protection order?

An emergency protection order (EPO) is an order giving a local authority parental responsibility for short term period in order to safeguard the welfare of the child.

When will an emergency protection order be made?

An EPO will be applied for when it is necessary to ensure the short term safety of a child. Any person can make an application including a local authority or other authorised body.

To make an EPO the court needs to be satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if:

  1. he/she is not placed into accommodation provided by the local authority or
  2. he/she does not remain in the place where he/she is currently being accommodated e.g. in hospital.
Do the parents need to be informed of an emergency protection order?

If it is believed the child will be safe in the interim period then notice should be given to the parents of an EPO application.

However, if it is believed that the child is at immediate risk of harm then an EPO can be applied for without notice to the parents.

How long does an emergency protection order last for?

As an EPO is only a short term order the court can only grant it for up to a maximum of 8 days. It can, however, be extended for a further 7 days thereafter.

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