The Family Court (Composition and Distribution of Business) (Amendment) Rules 2021 were laid before Parliament on 26 April 2021 and enter into force today (24 May 2021). These Rules amend the Family Court (Composition and Distribution of Business) Rules 2014.
The 2021 Rules can be found at The Family Court (Composition and Distribution of Business) (Amendment) Rules 2021 (legislation.gov.uk) (external link, opens in a new tab) and the changes are as follows:
- Rule 3 omits from the 2014 Rules the provision which routes appeals from decisions in financial remedy proceedings made by a district judge of the Principal Registry of the Family Division, or of a person appointed to act as a deputy or as a temporary additional office for such a district judge, to a judge of High Court level in the family court. Such appeals will instead be allocated under rule 6 or 7(2) of the 2014 Rules
- Rule 4 amends Schedule 1 to the 2014 Rules to make provision for all proceedings under section 12 or 13 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, or under Schedule 7 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (c.33) to be allocated to a judge of district judge level in the family court, subject to the provisions of rule 15(2) of the 2014 Rules
In light of these changes, the President of the Family Division has issued new guidance: Jurisdiction of the Family Court: Allocation of cases within the Family Court to High Court judge level and transfer of cases from the Family Court to the High Court
This guidance enters into force on 24 May 2021 and replaces the previous guidance given by the then President, Sir James Munby, on 28 February 2018. The changes to that original guidance are shown in the new document in red. This guidance can be read below.