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Name: Nickolas F. v. Superior Court
Case #: D048652
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/25/2006

Father sought writ review of juvenile court orders made at the 12-month review hearing terminating reunification services and setting a 366.26 hearing. He contended that the juvenile court erred when it granted a 388 petition to deny him services because the court could not modify its previous order absent a change in circumstances or new evidence. He also contended that he did not receive reasonable services. The appellate court disagreed and denied the petition. The juvenile court has the statutory authority under section 385 to set aside any previous order after providing the parties with notice and an opportunity to be heard. The court’s power to set aside an order erroneously made is not contingent on a party seeking a modification pursuant to section 388. The court also has the inherent authority to reconsider prior orders when necessary to prevent a miscarriage of justice, as long as it does not violate the constitutional rights of the parties. A section 388 petition was not required here, and is not required in order for a party to seek a modification of a court order which was improvidently made. Nor did the pursuit of the modification here by way of a 388 petition result in a miscarriage of justice, so any error would be harmless.