Commencing nullity proceedings and drafting the petition
Commencing nullity proceedings and drafting the petition

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commencing nullity proceedings and drafting the petition
  • Nullity proceedings
  • Time limits
  • Mental disorder
  • Where to start the proceedings
  • Jurisdiction
  • Previous petition on file
  • The parties
  • Names of parties
  • Omitting address
  • more

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for practitioners considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit and family law. This Practice Note sets out the current position on jurisdiction in nullity proceedings.

Nullity proceedings

Family proceedings are governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955. The rules relating to proceedings for nullity are to be found in FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, Pt 7 and the supplemental PD 7A and PD 7B.

FPR 2010 introduced a change in the terminology in nullity proceedings. There are, however, some inconsistencies between the terminology used in the rules, which use the new terms, and those referred to in the forms, which refer to old terms. Nullity proceedings are referred to as matrimonial proceedings and a matrimonial order means a decree of nullity.

Proceedings for nullity or a matrimonial order must be begun by an application for a matrimonial order, still referred to as a petition.

Time limits

There is no requirement to wait one year from the date of marriage before commencing proceedings for nullity as there is in the case of divorce. There are, however, other time limits of which clients should be made aware.

Three years

Where the grounds relied