You may have only just come across Section 7 Reports and not know what they are or who writes them. You’re in the right place. In this blog, we will answer all of your main questions about Section 7 Reports.

What is a Section 7 Report?

In short, a Section 7 Report is a report prepared by an external third party which aims to represent the child’s best interests to the court.

If two parents are in dispute over arrangements for their child, they may end up needing one. At this point, one of the parents can request a Section 7 Report. It will be drawn up and then presented to the court for them to make the final decision on whatever the disagreement is.

The disagreement could be about any number of issues but the most common are around living arrangements, the division of time between both parents, and whether the child should change schools or go overseas. The Section 7 Report will be prepared by interviewing the child, the parents and key third parties like the school. They will then offer their opinion based on what they have found which will be presented to the court to decide on officially.

Who writes a Section 7 Report?

It will be written by one of two bodies.

If the local authority is currently involved with the child – or has been involved in the last 12 weeks – then the report will be prepared by a social worker. This makes the most sense in this case as they will already be familiar with the situation and able to offer experienced insight into the dispute. A section 7 report by social services can offer an experienced eye. Social services section 7 reports are common.

If the local authority is not involved, the report will be prepared by a CAFCASS worker. CAFCASS stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. They are a body associated with the court system that is specifically focused around offering advice and support in these kinds of situations. A CAFCASS Section 7 Report will be reliable as they have extensive experience with preparing these reports for all manner of situations. A Section 7 Report by CAFCASS will be up to an authorised standard.

What is in a Section 7 Report?

If you would like to see a Section 7 Report example, there are some templates floating around online. You can find them by searching for ‘example section 7 report’, if you would like to see in detail what one of these would look like.

Once the court has ordered either CAFCASS or the local authority to make a Section 7 Report, it will take around 16 weeks. It will be written to address a series of key questions and criteria that will be provided by the court. These questions will depend on the specific dispute but could be things along the lines of ‘which parent should the child primarily live with?’ or ‘is there evidence of parental alienation?’.

The purpose of the report, as stated earlier, is to provide the child’s perspective on these matters. As such, one of the first ports of call will be to talk to the child directly. This is most often done without either parent present so the child is able to speak freely. This interview process is conducted as sensitively as possible to avoid causing unwanted distress to the child. The primary goal is always their welfare and so often the interviewer is doing their best to find out what the child wants for themselves.

Welfare Checklist Section 7 Report

However, there are often bigger picture considerations to make that can go beyond the child’s limited perspective and so interviews will also be conducted with both parents. The court will want to have an accurate picture of the whole situation before making a decision. It is also possible that they will reach out to other relevant organisations, such as the child’s school, for a report which could give further insight into the child’s best interests.

Of course, there are many more factors to consider than just what the child wants. Just because they want one thing, doesn’t mean it is the best thing for them. This is factored into the report. It aims to consider all of the below factors:

  • The wishes and feelings of the child
  • Any past or present harm, or risk of future harm
  • The needs of the child; physical, emotional, education, etc.
  • How the child may be impacted by changing circumstances
  • The parent’s capacity to realistically meet the child’s needs
  • The child’s age, sex, and any other relevant characteristics

What to do if Section 7 Report is wrong?

Right and wrong can be difficult to quantify in complex situations like child arrangements. One parent’s perspective will often differ from the other’s. The report aims to be as objective as possible, but may not be perfect.

This is why the Section 7 Report is not the final ruling. It has to go through the family court system first. Once the report is prepared and all of the questions posed have been answered, it must be presented to the court. There will be a Section 7 Report final hearing. The individual who prepared the report will stand in the witness box to give evidence. As such, they will be open for questions.

If there is something in the report that you do not agree with – or if it is missing key pieces of evidence – your legal representative will have the opportunity to ask the CAFCASS/social worker about it. They can highlight any concerns that they have and point out any weaknesses in the report at this stage. Everything discussed here will be taken into account in the final decision.

Section 7 Report Solicitors London

If you find yourself caught in a gridlock when it comes to child arrangements, you may need of a West London solicitor. At Hubbard Pegman & Whitney, we aim to provide the best legal representation we can to ensure that your child’s welfare is a top priority. Disputes between parents can be very taxing emotionally, mentally and physically both for yourself and your child. Having a family lawyer by your side can alleviate some of those difficulties. We can help you navigate those complexities with less stress.

Get in touch with Susanna Russell or Primrose Hudson today for a solicitor in West London who can help. You can also get in touch with the contact box on this page, or email us at

Read more about divorce and family arrangements here:

Read This If Your Child Has Been Taken Abroad Without Your Consent

Fathers Should Pay Towards Their Children’s Upbringing – But How Much?

Divorce – This Is Why A Clean Break Is Usually The Preferred Outcome

A ‘Crisis’ – Dealing With The Family Court Backlog


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