New Judicial Protocol for Children’s Cases in Scotland, and England and Wales

|Protocols|Family

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division in England & Wales, and Lord Carloway, head of the Scottish judiciary, have agreed a new judicial protocol, see link below, which will provide for the direct exchange of information between judges in intra-UK cross-border cases involving children.

The protocol will operate in cases in which the Courts in Scotland, and England and Wales, are involved.

It will allow for the prompt exchange of key information about any existing proceedings, and the legal options available to the court in each jurisdiction.

The protocol is intended to ensure that cases with a cross-border dimension are dealt with promptly and efficiently.

The protocol, which was signed on 24 July 2018 by Sir James Munby and Lord Carloway will take effect immediately.

Sir James said: “At a time when child proceedings increasingly involve a cross-border element, this protocol will facilitate cross-border judicial co-operation, thereby assisting the prompt and efficient progress of cases

A supplementary handbook, see link below, has also been published, with contributions by Scottish and English QCs, to provide judges with a short summary of the law relating to children in Scotland, England and Wales.

Notes for Editors

This judicial protocol formalises arrangements which have been in place for some time between the senior family law judges in the Royal Courts of Justice and in the Court of Session in Scotland.  Under the protocol, a judge dealing with a cross-border case will be able to make a request for information to the designated liaison judge in his own jurisdiction, who in turn can seek information from his opposite number.  Judges should be able to establish what is happening in the alternative jurisdiction – for example whether proceedings have been raised, what orders have been granted, and what remedies are available.    The protocol was drafted by a group of senior family law judges, from Scotland and England & Wales.  The handbook, with chapters provided by Scottish and English QCs, will provide a helpful starting point for a judge dealing with a cross-border case.