Sadly, under the current law, grandparents do not have a legal right, in principle, to have a continued relationship with their grandchildren. Under the Children Act 1989, the parents of the child in question (including steps parents) have an automatic right to issue an application for contact. In addition, those persons having cared for the child in excess of 3 years, also have an automatic right to issue an application for contact.
If you are being denied reasonable grandparent contact I would suggest that you arrange a meeting to consider suitability of mediation. This option will serve you, the parents and the grandchildren well.
If mediation is not a suitable or fails to resolve the dispute then an application can be made to the Court for a Contact Order subject to the Court granting “leave” (permission) to file an application for contact.
So, if you are a grandparent, you will have to show that you have a meaningful relationship with your grandchild and that he/she has an important connection with you.
Once leave is granted by the Court, the application will go ahead on the same basis as any other application before the Court for contact under the Children Act 1989.
Please refer to my pages on Child Contact and Residence for more details and information about the same.There is a review being carried out by the Family Justice Council requesting “a statement in law” about the importance of both parents having a relationship with their children and reinforcing the importance of a continued and meaningful relationship with grandparents.
The review calls for a simpler service for families that are separating. It is hoped that this will help separating couples to focus on their child(ren) and to reach agreement, if possible, without going to Court and via the Family Mediation route.