Jurisdictional issues in children proceedings
Jurisdictional issues in children proceedings

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

  • Jurisdictional issues in children proceedings
  • Jurisdiction
  • Procedure
  • European Union countries
  • Other countries including UK countries (and Denmark)

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 Notes: Brexit and family law and Brexit—children proceedings. This Practice Note sets out the current position on jurisdictional issues in children proceedings.


The two primary sources of reference in relation to the jurisdiction of the court to make private law orders are the Family Law Act 1986 (FLA 1986) and the Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility (Brussels II bis). FLA 1986 has been amended in order that it may accommodate the changes relating to children effected by the Brussels II bis.

It is now clear that public law children proceedings also fall within the scope of Brussels II bis. In every case with a European dimension, the courts of England and Wales have to ask themselves whether they have jurisdiction and, even if they do, whether the case should be transferred to another Member State. See: European Union countries.

Brussels II bis applies to all EU countries, save for Denmark (as did its predecessor, Brussels II). Therefore, issues in children cases relating to other