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Family Proceedings (Allocation to Judiciary) Directions 2009

Practice Direction issued on 11 February 2009 coming into force on 16 February 2009

The President of the Family Division, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 9 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and having consulted the Lord Chancellor, gives the following Directions:

1. These Directions shall come into force on 16th February 2009.

2. In these Directions, in the absence of a contrary implication —

3. Any reference in these Directions to the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008 (“the 2008 Order”) is to be read as a reference to the Children (Allocation of Proceedings) Order 1991, the Children (Allocation of Proceedings) (Appeals) Order 1991 or the Family Law Act 1996 (Part IV) (Allocation of Proceedings) Order 1997, as appropriate, where any of those Orders applies as a result of Article 29 of the 2008 Order (transitional provisions).

4. These Directions apply to any family proceedings (except proceedings on appeal from an order or decision made by a magistrates’ court) which are pending in a county court or which, by virtue of section 42 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 or of a provision of the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008, are treated as pending in a county court in the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the High Court.

5. (1) These Directions apply, so far as practicable, to proceedings started before but not concluded by 16th February 2009.
(2) Where, by reason of paragraph (1), these Directions do not apply to particular proceedings which have been started but not concluded before 16th February 2009, the Family Proceedings (Allocation to Judiciary) Directions 1999 continue to apply to those proceedings.

6. Subject to the following paragraphs of these Directions, the proceedings described in the Schedule shall be allocated to a judge or to a specified description of judge in accordance with the following Table, by reference to the categories shown in column (b) of the Table and described in the Schedule and subject to the limitations specified in column (c) of the Table.

 

(a)

(b)

(c)

Judge or specified description of judge

Categories of proceedings by reference to the Schedule

Limitations

A circuit judge, deputy circuit judge or recorder nominated for public family law proceedings

  All categories of   proceedings

_______

A circuit judge, deputy circuit judge or recorder nominated for private family law proceedings

  B, D, E

________

A district judge of the Principal Registry1

  A, B, C, D

D Interlocutory matters only

________

A district judge nominated for public family law proceedings

  A, B, C, D

D Interlocutory matters only

________

A district judge nominated for private family law proceedings

  B, D

D Interlocutory matters only

________

A judge not referred to in any of the preceding entries in this table.

  B(i), B(iii), B(vii)

B(i) Only:

(1) proceedings in which an order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 is sought at a without notice hearing where

(a) no nominated judge is available to hear the proceedings; and

(b) any order is limited in time until a hearing before a nominated judge;

and

(2) proceedings under section 15 of and Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989.

B(iii) In the case of a deputy district judge, all proceedings except enforcement

Note
1 Including a deputy district judge of the Principal Registry.

7. Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 6, any proceedings to which these Directions apply, including any appeal referred to in paragraph 10, may be allocated to —

8. When a person sitting as a recorder is also a district judge nominated for public family law proceedings, any proceedings may be allocated to him which, under these Directions, may be allocated to a district judge nominated for public family law proceedings.

9. A circuit judge or district judge nominated for private family law proceedings who is sitting at an adoption centre may, with the agreement of the Family Division Liaison Judge for the relevant region, hear proceedings in category C of the Schedule, limited in the case of a district judge to interlocutory matters only.

10. Where in any proceedings to which these Directions apply an appeal may be heard by a circuit judge, deputy circuit judge or recorder, it may be heard by any judge of that description who under these Directions would have been able to hear the proceedings at first instance.

The Right Honourable Sir Mark Potter
President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice

SCHEDULE

 

Category

Description of proceedings

A

(i) Proceedings under section 25 of the Children Act 1989;

(ii) Proceedings under Parts IV and V of the Children Act 1989;

(iii) Proceedings under Schedules 2 and 3 to the Children Act 1989;

(iv) Applications for leave under section 91(14),(15) or (17) of the Children Act 1989;

(v) Proceedings under section 102 of the 1989 Act or section 79 of the Childcare Act 2006;

(vi) Proceedings for a residence order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 or for a special guardianship order under section 14A of the Children Act 1989 with respect to a child who is the subject of a care order.

________

B

(i) Proceedings under Parts I and II of the Children Act 1989, except where the proceedings come within Category A(vi), C(iii) or C(iv) of this Schedule;

(ii) Proceedings under sections 33,34 and 37 of the Family Law Act 1986;

(iii) Proceedings under Part 4 of the Family Law Act 1996;

(iv) Proceedings under Part 4A of the Family Law Act 1996;

(v) Proceedings under section 20 of the Child Support Act 1990;

(vi) Proceedings under section 30 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990;

(vii) Family proceedings for which no express provision is made in this Schedule.

_______

C

(i) Proceedings under section 21 of the Adoption Act 1976;

(ii) Proceedings under the Adoption and Children Act 2002;

(iii) Proceedings for a residence order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 where either section 28(1)(child placed for adoption) or 29(4)(placement order in force) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 applies;

(iv) Proceedings for a special guardianship order under section 14A of the Children Act 1989 where either section 28(1)(child placed for adoption) or section 29(5)(placement order in force) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 applies.

_______

D

Proceedings under sections 55,55A, 56 and 57 of the Family Law Act 1986

_______

E

The hearing of contested proceedings for

(i) a decree of divorce, nullity or judicial separation; or

(ii) an order for dissolution or nullity of civil partnership or a separation order.

The original version published in pdf format is available here