Thursday, 24 April 2014

THE Family Court for England and Wales

As from 22nd April 2014, there is a new Family Court for England and Wales - see Crime and Courts Act 2013 section 17.  Section 17 inserts Part 4A into the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.

Read section 17 along with the Schedule 10 and  Schedule 11.  See also 2014/954 - Crime and Courts Act 2013 (Commencement No. 10 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2014.

As with the new County Court (previous post), the change is accompanied by extensive secondary legislation, a detailed guide to which is available on Family Law Week 'Guide to Statutory Instruments coming into force on 22nd April 2014.'

Family Law Week website considered the formation of this court - 'Largest family justice reform for a generation' comes into effect.

Along with alterations to the court structure, there are very important changes to the law resulting from the  Children and Families Act 2014. A very good summary of the changes may be seen in the article by Amy Royce-Greensill - Children and Families Act 2014 - Essential Update - 16th April 2014 and there is lots of more information and resources at Family Law Reform

For a guide
to the changes in public law children proceedings by Jennifer Kotilaine of 42 Bedford Row, please click here.

For a guide to the changes in private children law proceedings by Anna Heenan of Gregg Latchams LLP, please click here.

For details of the Child Arrangements Programme, please click here.

The new Family Court appears to have received a warm welcome and it is an idea that has been in the pipeline for some 40 years.  However, some of the accompanying changes to the law may prove to be problematic and removal of legal aid from many family cases remains a serious concern with more than half of those attending children cases having no legal representation (Marilyn Stowe 24th April)..

Further links:

Family Court (Composition and Distribution of Business) Rules and Guidance issued by the President of the Family Division

Family Law - The single family court - essential update

Judiciary - Family Court Guide

Law Society - Family Court Resources

Family Law Bar Association - President's View Number 10

Family Law week - President's View No 10 looks forward to family law post 22nd April 2014

View from the President's Chambers: The beginning of the future - 13th February 2014

The single family court on Sky TV - 22nd April 2014 - Marilyn Stowe LLP

Where is the family court? by John Bolch - 8th October 2013

Crime and Courts Bill .... Law and Lawyers 17th May 2012.

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