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Children Orders

Information relating to Children Orders held on the Integrated Courts Operation System (ICOS).

The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 is widely recognised as the most comprehensive legislation relating to children ever introduced in Northern Ireland, it enshrines a number of key principles:

  • The child’s welfare shall be the paramount consideration in court proceedings
  • Any delay in determining the question with respect to the upbringing of a child is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child
  • No order or orders should be made unless that would be better for the child than making no order at all
  • Where possible, children should be brought up and cared for with their own families
  • Children should be safe and protected by effective intervention, but such intervention should be open to challenge
  • Children should be kept informed about what happens to them and should ordinarily participate (subject to age and understanding) when decisions are made about their future and
  • Parents continue to have parental responsibility even when their children are no longer living with them. They should be kept informed about their child and participate when decisions are made about their child’s future

In any family proceedings in which a question with respect to the welfare of a child arises, the court may make an Article 8 order. This can occur either where a person entitled to do so makes an application, or where the court gives that person leave, or if the court itself considers that such an order is necessary. More information is available on the CourtsNI portal.

The data be can broken down in to two categories:

Application level

Records orders made at the application level regardless of the number of parties involved.

  1. Receipts and Disposals
  2. Own Motion Orders
  3. Interim Orders
  4. Final Orders
  5. Average Sitting Times
  6. Average Length Between Receipt and Disposal
  7. Age of Children 

These data are available here for September 2012 – August 2015, annually.

Participation level

Records each party involved in the application for an order. This will involve parents as well as children.

  1. Own Motion Orders
  2. Interim Orders
  3. Final Orders

These data are available only for September 2014 – August 2015 (due to changes in recording on the Integrated Courts Operation System).

This data was used in the Detail Data investigation 'Inside Northern Ireland's Family Courts'. To read the stories that featured as part of this click here.

If you're looking for information and support services for families and/or children please visit Family Support NI.

Data and Resources

Dataset Info

These fields are compatible with DCAT, an RDF vocabulary designed to facilitate interoperability between data catalogs published on the Web.
NI Courts and Tribunals Service
Modified Date
Release Date
Open Definition
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area (WKT)
POLYGON ((-8.20679 55.3291, -5.42725 55.3291, -5.42725 54.0465, -8.20679 54.0465, -8.20679 55.3291))
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Northern Ireland
Temporal Coverage
01/09/2013 to 31/08/2015
Processing Office (court)
Data Dictionary
See Data Dictionary resource
Contact Name
NICTS Communications
Contact Email