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Report No. 83

XII. Wards of Court

Procedure.- A minor can be made a ward of court only upon the making of an application for an order to that effect. Prior to 1949, an infant became a ward automatically when an action or other proceeding relating to his person or property was commenced in the Chancery Division, but now a specific application is required.1

The court has an extensive and special jurisdiction over wards of courts in respect of both their person and their property, and exercising that jurisdiction it acts in a parental and administrative manner. Thus, the court will decide who is to have the custody, care and control of the word and who is to have access to the ward and what access is to be allowed. It will control where the ward is to live and will not permit him to be removed from the jurisdiction of the court without leave.

It follows that it can make orders for his maintenance, and supervises his education and religious upbringing and investigates proposals as to marriage.2 Of the recent English cases illustrating this jurisdiction, the most important is that in which the court refused permission to allow the sterilisation of a girl of about 11 years of age, who was supposed to be mentally defective.3

In the exercise of this jurisdiction also, the welfare of the minor is the paramount consideration.4

1. Section 9(1), Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions)-Act, 1949.

2. Halsbury's, 4th Edn., Vol. 24, p. 266, para. 597.

3. D. (Minor) (in re:), (1976) 1 All ER 326.

4. J. v. C., (1969) 1 All ER 788 (EL).

The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and Certain Provisions of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 Back

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