Issuing private children proceedings in the Family Court
Issuing private children proceedings in the Family Court

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

  • Issuing private children proceedings in the Family Court
  • Allocation and gatekeeping
  • Guidance on allocation and gatekeeping in private children proceedings
  • Directions on issue
  • Urgent hearings
  • Judicial continuity
  • Transitional provisions
  • Judicial Protocol for Children’s Cases in Scotland, and England and Wales

This Practice Note is impacted by the decision of the UK on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU. This has implications for practitioners, inter alia, when considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—children proceedings. This Practice Note sets out the current position on issuing private children proceedings in the Family Court.

Allocation and gatekeeping

There is one central location for the Family Court in each geographic area, the designated family centre, where the designated family judge is based and the principal location at which hearings will take place. There may be one or more hearing centres attached to the designated family centre at which hearings can also take place. Allocation and gatekeeping for the Family Court is dealt with by a centralised ‘gate-keeping and allocation team’ consisting of a legal adviser (justices’ clerk) and a district judge. The Family Court deals with all family cases with the exception of those invoking the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court or international cases involving applications for relief under either the Hague Convention or Brussels II bis. See Practice Note: The single Family Court.

Note that the former President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, issued guidance on 28 February 2018 regarding the allocation of cases within the Family Court to a judge of High Court