Financial proceedings—jurisdiction, scope and powers
Financial proceedings—jurisdiction, scope and powers

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

  • Financial proceedings—jurisdiction, scope and powers
  • Powers of the court
  • Scope of the court’s jurisdiction to hear an application
  • Who may apply for a financial order?
  • Orders available from the court
  • Orders in relation to a child of the family
  • Overseas divorce

Powers of the court

On 22 April 2014, the single Family Court replaced the previous three tiers of court structure (family proceedings court, County Court, High Court). The High Court retains exclusive jurisdiction over a limited number of cases, however note that section 31E of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (MFPA 1984) (as amended) provides that in any proceedings in the Family Court the court may make an order which could be made in the High Court if the proceedings were in the High Court (and an identical power in relation to the County Court). Those powers have been highlighted by the courts, in particular by Mostyn J in CH v WH, when he said ‘The basic mistake made by judges…is to assume that their powers are confined to the four corners of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973). The Family Court has all the powers of the High Court’ (para [9]). The jurisdiction of the court to address financial matters on the breakdown of a marriage/civil partnership is found in MCA 1973, and corresponding provisions of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004), save to the extent that the High Court has inherent jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief. As to jurisdiction generally and the allocation of proceedings, see: Jurisdiction—overview and Allocation and transfer—overview.

Applications for a