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Guardianship of Infants, Cap 144


(Repealed by Children’s Act, Cap 141)

LAWS OF KENYA





THE GUARDIANSHIP OF INFANTS ACT

Cap 144

Published by the National Council for Law Reporting

With the Authority of the Attorney-General


GUARDIANSHIP OF INFANTS ACT
CHAPTER 144
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
Section
1-Short title

2-Interpretation

3-Rights of surviving parent as to guardianship and powers of court

4-Power of parent to appoint testamentary guardians

5-Powers of guardians

6-Equal right of mother to apply to court

7-Power of court to remove guardian

8-Power of court to remove guardian

9-Disputes between joint guardians

10-Guardianship in cases of judicial separation and divorce

11-In case of separation deed between mother and father

12-Power of court as to production of infant

13-Power of court to order repayment of costs of bringing up infant

14-Court in making order to have regard to conduct of parent

15-Power of court as to infant’s religious education

16-Enforcement of orders for payment of money

17-Principles on which questions relating to custody, upbringing etc., of infants are to be decided

18-Saving

19-Rules of court

THE GUARDIANSHIP OF INFANTS ACT
CAP 144
7 of 1959, 1 of 1974
Commencement: 5th May, 1959
An act of Parliament relating to the guardianship and custody of infants and matters incidental thereto
Short title. 
1. This Act may be cited as the Guardianship of Infants Act.
Interpretation. 1 of 1974, s. 5.

 

2. In this Act, except where the context otherwise requires -


"court" means the High Court;

"father" does not include the father or putative father of an illegitimate infant;


"infant" means a person under eighteen years of age, but does not include a person who is or has been married;
"parent" means the father or mother, and, in sections 11, 12, 13 and 14, includes any person liable at law to maintain the infant or entitled to its custody.
Rights of surviving parent as to guardianship and powers of court.
3. (1) On the death of the father of an infant, the mother, if surviving, shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be guardian of the infant, either alone or jointly with any guardian appointed by the father; and when no guardian has been appointed by the father, or if the guardian appointed by the father is dead or refuses to act, the court may appoint a guardian to act jointly with the mother.
(2) On the death of the mother of an infant, the father, if surviving, shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be guardian of the infant, either alone or jointly with any guardian appointed by the mother; and when no guardian has been appointed by the mother, or if the guardian appointed by the mother is dead or refuses to act, the court may appoint a guardian to act jointly with the father.
(3) Where an infant has no parent, no guardian of the person and no other person having parental rights with respect to it, the court, on the application of any person, may appoint the applicant to be the guardian of the infant.
Power of parent to appoint testamentary guardians. 
4. (1) Either parent of an infant may by deed or will appoint any person to be guardian of the infant after his death.
(2) A guardian so appointed shall act jointly with the surviving parent of the infant so long as that parent remains alive, unless that parent objects to his so acting.
(3) If the surviving parent so objects, or if the guardian so appointed considers that the parent is unfit to have the custody of the infant, the guardian may apply to the court, and the court may either refuse to make any order in which case the parent shall remain sole guardian or take an order that the guardian so appointed shall act jointly with the parent or that he shall be sole guardian of the infant, and in the latter case may make such order regarding the custody of the infant and the right of access thereto of its parent as, having regard to the welfare of the infant, the court may think fit, and may further order that the parent shall pay to the guardian towards the maintenance of the infant such weekly or other periodical sum as, having regard to the means of the parent, the court may consider reasonable.
(4) Where guardians are appointed by both parents, the guardians so appointed shall after the death of the surviving parent act jointly.
(5) If under section 3 a guardian has been appointed by the court to act jointly with the surviving parent, he shall continue to act as guardian after the death of that parent; but if the surviving parent has appointed a guardian, the guardian appointed by the court shall act jointly with the guardian appointed by that parent.
Powers of guardians.
5. A guardian under section 3 or section 4 shall have the same powers over the state and the person, or over the estate, as the case may be, of an infant as a guardian appointed by will or otherwise under the law for the time being in force in England.
Equal right of mother to apply to court. 
6. The mother of an infant shall have the same right to apply to the court in respect of any matter affecting the infant as are possessed by the father.
Power of court to make order as to custody. 
7. (1) The court may, upon the application of either parent of an infant, make such order as it may think fit regarding the custody of the infant and the right of access thereto of either parent, having regard to the welfare of the infant, and to the conduct of the parents, and to the wishes as well of the mother as of the father, and may alter, vary or discharge that order on the application of either parent, or, after the death of either parent, or any guardian under this Act; and in every case may make such order respecting costs as it may think just.
(2) The power of the court under subsection (1) to make an order as to the custody of an infant and the right of access thereto may be exercised notwithstanding that the mother of the infant is then residing with the father of the infant.
(3) Where the court under subsection (1) makes an order giving the custody of the infant to the mother, then, whether or not the mother is then residing with the father, the court may further order that the father shall pay to the mother towards the maintenance of the infant such weekly or other periodical sum as the court, having regard to the means of the father, may think reasonable.

(4) No such order, whether for custody or maintenance, shall be enforceable, and no liability there under shall accrue, while the mother resides with the father, and any such order shall cease to have effect if for a period of three months after it is made the mother of the infant continues to reside with the father.


(5) Any order so made may, on the application of either the father or the mother of the infant, be varied or discharged by a subsequent order.
Power of court to remove guardian. 
8. The court may, on being satisfied that it is for the welfare of the infant, remove from office any testamentary guardian, or any guardian appointed or acting by virtue of this Act, and may also, if the court deems it to be for the welfare of the infant, appoint another guardian in place of the guardian so removed.
Disputes between joint guardians. 
9. Where two or more persons act as joint guardians of an infant and they are unable to agree on any question affecting the welfare of the infant, any of them may apply to the court for its direction, and the court may make such order regarding the matters in difference as it may think proper.
Guardianship in cases of judicial separation and divorce. 
10. In any case where a decree for judicial separation, or a decree either nisi or absolute for divorce, is pronounced, the court pronouncing the decree may thereby declare the parent by reason of whose misconduct the decree is made to be a person unfit to have the custody of the children of the marriage, and, in that case, the parent so declared to be unfit shall not, upon the death of the other parent, be entitled as of right to the custody or guardianship of the children.
In case of separation deed between mother and father. 
11. No agreement contained in any separation deed made between the father and the mother of an infant shall be held to be invalid by reason only of its providing that the father of that infant shall give up the custody or control thereof to the mother:
Provided that the court shall not enforce any such agreement if it is of opinion that it will not be for the benefit of the infant to give effect thereto.
Power of court as to production of infant. 
12. Where the parent of an infant applies to the court for a writ or order for the production of the infant, and the court is of opinion that the parent has abandoned or deserted the infant, or that he has otherwise so conducted himself that the court should refuse to enforce his right to the custody of the infant, the court may decline to issue the writ or make the order.
Power of court to order repayment of costs of bringing up infant. 
13. If, at the time of the application for a writ or order for the production of the infant, the infant is being brought up by another person, the court may, if it orders the infant to be given up to the parent, further order that the parent shall pay to that person the whole of the costs properly incurred in bringing up the infant, or such portion thereof as shall seem to the court to be just and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case.
Court in making order to have regard to conduct of parent. 
14. Where the parent has -
(a) abandoned or deserted his child; or
(b) allowed his child to be brought up by another person at that person's expense for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to satisfy the court that the parent was unmindful of his parental duties,
the court shall not make an order for the delivery of the child to the parent unless the parent has satisfied the court that, having regard to the welfare of the child, he is a fit person to have the custody of the child.
Power of court as to infant's religious education.
15. Upon any application by the parent for the production or custody of an infant, if the court is of opinion that the parent ought not to have the custody of the infant and that the infant is being brought up in a different religion to that in which the parent has a legal right to require that the infant should be brought up, the court may make such order as it may think fit to secure that the infant be brought up in the religion in which the parent has a legal right to require that the infant should be brought up.
Enforcement of orders for payment of money.
16. (1) Any person for the time being under an obligation to make payment in pursuance of any order for the payment of money under this Act shall give notice of any change of address to such person (if any) as may be specified in the order, and any person failing without reasonable excuse to give such a notice shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand shillings.
(2) Where the court has made any such order, it may, in addition to exercising any other powers for enforcing compliance with the order, in any case where there is any pension or income payable to the person against whom the order is made and capable of being attached, after giving the person by whom the pension or income is payable an opportunity of being heard, order that such part as the court may think fit of that pension or income be attached and paid to the person named by the court; and that further order shall be an authority to the person by whom the pension or income is payable to make the payment so ordered, and the receipt of the person to whom the payment is ordered to be made shall be a good discharge to the person by whom the pension or income is payable.
Principles on which questions relating to custody, upbringing, etc., of infants are to be decided. 
17. Where in any proceeding before any court the custody or upbringing of an infant, or the administration of any property belonging to or held on trust for an infant, or the application of the income thereof, is in question, the court, in deciding that question, shall regard the welfare of the infant as the first and paramount consideration, and shall not take into consideration whether from any other point of view the claim of the father, or any right at common law possessed by the father, in respect of the custody, upbringing, administration or application is superior to that of the mother, or the claim of the mother is superior to that of the father.
Saving. 
18. Nothing in this Act shall restrict or affect the jurisdiction of the court to appoint or remove guardians.
Rules of court. 
19. (1)The rules committee may make rules of court directing the manner in which applications to the court are to be made and generally providing for matters of procedure and incidental matters arising under this Act.
(2) Rules of court may provide for applications being heard and determined otherwise than in open court.
SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION
Rules of Court under section 19
THE GUARDIANSHIP OF INFANT RULES

L.N. 319/1959


Citation.
1. These Rules may be cited as the Guardianship of Infant Rules.
Mode of application.
2. An application under the Act shall be made –
(a) where there is pending any action or other proceeding by reason whereof the infant is a ward of court, by a summons in that action or proceeding, and in the matter of the infant;
(b) in other cases by an originating summons in the matter of the infant.
Who may apply.
3. A summons under these Rues may be taken out by the infant (by a next friend), or by any other person interested in the relief sought, and shall be served on the infant (if not the applicant) and on any other person appearing to be interested in or affected by the relief sought:
Provided that the judge may dispense with service on any person (including the infant) or may direct that service shall be effected on any person not originally served.
How summons heard.
4. A summons under these Rules shall be returnable before a judge sitting in chambers.
Attachment of pension or income.
5. Where the court makes an order under subsection (2) of section 16 of the Act attaching any pension or income, the registrar shall give or send a certified copy of the order to the person by whom the pension or income is payable.

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