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Family Proceedings (Allocation to Judiciary) (Appeals) Directions 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 6th April 2009.

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

3. Subject to paragraph 5, these Directions apply to any proceedings on appeal from an order or decision made by a magistrates’ court, where the appeal —

(a) is brought under any of the provisions referred to in paragraph 4; and
(b) is pending in a county court or, by virtue of the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008, is treated as pending in a county court in the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the High Court.

4. The provisions referred to in paragraph 3 are—

(a) section 4(7) of the Maintenance Orders Act 1958;
(b) section 29 of the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates’ Courts Act 1978;
(c) section 111A of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980;
(d) section 60(5) of the Family Law Act 1986;
(e) section 94(1) to (9) of the Children Act 1989;
(f) section 61 of the Family Law Act 1996; or
(g) any other enactment giving a person a right of appeal to a county court from a decision of a magistrates’ court.

5. These Directions do not apply to any appeal in which the notice of appeal or notice of motion was filed before 6th April 2009 or to any application under section 111 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 made before 6th April 2009.

6. Subject to the paragraphs 7, 8 and 9, proceedings to which these Directions apply shall be allocated as follows —

(a) Where the appeal is from an order or decision in proceedings specified in the Schedule, to a circuit judge nominated for public family law proceedings;
(b) In any other case, to a circuit judge nominated for public or private family law proceedings.

7. Where in any proceedings to which these Directions apply, the powers of the court may, by any rule or practice direction, be exercised by a district judge, the proceedings may, for that purpose, be allocated as follows—

(a) Where the appeal is from an order or decision in proceedings specified in the Schedule, to a district judge of the Principal Registry of the Family Division or to a district judge nominated for public family law proceedings;
(b) In any other case, to a district judge of the Principal Registry of the Family Division or to a district judge nominated for public or private family law proceedings.

8. Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraphs 6 and 7, any proceedings to which these Directions apply, may be allocated to —

(a) a judge of the Family Division of the High Court;
(b) a person acting as a judge of the Family Division of the High Court in pursuance of a request made under section 9(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 other than a former judge of the Court of Appeal or a former puisne judge of the High Court; but where the appeal is from an order or decision in proceedings specified in the Schedule, the proceedings shall be allocated only to a judge who has been nominated for public family law proceedings;
(c) a person sitting as a recorder who has been authorised to act as a judge of the Family Division of the High Court under section 9(4) of the Supreme Court Act 1981.

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 an appeal from an order or decision in proceedings under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, limited in the case of a district judge to any powers which may, by any rule or practice direction, be exercised by a district judge.

The Right Honourable Sir Mark Potter
President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice
1st April 2009

SCHEDULE
Description of proceedings
(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.
(vii) Proceedings under the Adoption and Children Act 2002;
(viii) 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;
(ix) 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.