Family Procedure Rules
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[This page was last updated on 26 March 2021]
Amended Practice Direction 3A to reflect recent changes to the types of evidence that can be submitted in an application for legal aid where domestic abuse is alleged. Primary legislation requires that an application to the court in certain family proceedings can only be made if the applicant has first attended a MIAM. An exception to this requirement applies where there is evidence of domestic abuse. This Practice Direction amendment incorporates into the MIAM domestic abuse exemptions the changes made to the legal aid evidential requirements.
Update 27 November 2017
New Part 3A Family Procedure Rules 2010 and supporting Practice Direction 3AA which set out set out the court’s duties and powers in relation to assisting parties whose ability to participate in family proceedings may be diminished by reason of their vulnerability, and in relation to assisting parties and witnesses in family proceedings where the quality of their evidence is likely to be diminished by reason of their vulnerability. The supporting Practice Direction provides guidance to the court on matters of practice and procedure under the new Part 3A.
Update: 2 October 2017
New revised Practice Direction 12J setting out practice and procedure for family judges dealing with child arrangements cases where domestic abuse is alleged. Specifically, the revised practice direction:
- replaces the term “domestic violence” with “domestic abuse”. It also expands the definition to include express reference to culturally-specific forms of abusive behaviour such as forced marriage and abandonment.
- includes a definition of “harm”, adopting the language of section 31(9) of the Children Act 1989. This definition makes clear that harm can include “impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another”.
- provides an updated explanation of the presumption of parental involvement emphasising the need to have regard to harm to the child by domestic abuse.
Update 7 August 2017
- amend the provisions in Part 8 of the FPR 2010 relating to applications to a court in England and Wales for permission to apply for a financial remedy order following an overseas divorce or civil partnership dissolution, to require such applications be made without notice;
- insert a signpost in the FPR 2010 to the rules dealing with the allocation of such proceedings in the family court, and remove existing rules about the allocation of such proceedings in the High Court;
- amend the provisions in Part 9 of the FPR 2010 relating to the Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment to require all cases to be referred for a Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment save in specified circumstances;
- amend the provisions in Part 17 of the FPR 2010 relating to statements of truth to require a statement of truth to be included in an application for a matrimonial or civil partnership order or an answer to such an application
14 November 2016
Rule 14.2 of the FPR has been amended to provide for the automatic assignment of serial numbers in applications for adoptions and certain other related proceedings in order to keep the identity of the applicants confidential from persons in the proceedings who are unaware of their identity.
Update 03 October 2016
Amendments to the Family Procedure Rules 2010 and associated Practice Directions came into effect on 3 October 2016.
The effect of the Rule amendments are:
- to remove the automatic party status of a child (other than a child applicant) in an application for a declaration of parentage, leaving the court discretion over whether to make such a child a party or not;
- to make new provision about when a child who is made a party to an application for a declaration of parentage should have a children’s guardian, or should have a litigation friend, or may proceed without either;
- to insert new Rules for applications to set aside a financial remedy order of the court where no error of the court is alleged.
The Practice Direction amendments include:
- alterations to the provisions for exemptions from attendance at a statutory Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (“MIAM”) to provide for various forms of evidence in relation to domestic violence to now relate to a past sixty month period and a new exemption on the ground of financial abuse;
- make further provisions relating to the operation of new setting aside rules in rule 9.9A of the 2010 Rules;
- allow for disclosure of information from certain family proceedings by a party’s legal representative to a professional indemnity insurer without that amounting to a potential contempt of court;
- amend Practice Direction 30A in relation to appeals to:
- reflect changes to the routes of certain appeals from the family court as a result of The Access to Justice Act 1999 (Destination of Appeals) (Family Proceedings) (Amendment) Order 2016 which comes into effect 3 October 2016
- make provision for smaller court bundles in appeals to the High Court;
- clarify the circumstances in which applications should be made to appeal, rather than set aside, a financial remedy order of the court.
Update 17 July 2015
The Family Procedure Rules and Practice Directions have been updated to include amendments made to prescribe the practice and procedure to be followed in relation to applications for female genital mutilation protection orders under Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, as inserted by section 73 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.
This update also reflects minor amendments made to Practice Directions 3A (Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings - MIAMs), 4A (Striking Out A Statement Of Case), 5A (Forms), 12E (Urgent Business), 12F (International Child Abduction), 12G (Communication of Information) and 30A (Appeals).
Update 1 July 2015
The Family Procedure Rules have been updated to include amendments (i) to support section 9(6) of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (conversion of civil partnership into marriage) and (ii) as a consequence of section 63CA of the Family Law Act 1996 making breach of a forced marriage protection order an offence.
This update reflects those amendments made by the Family Procedure (Amendment|) Rules 2015 that came into force on 1 July 2015
Update 11 January 2015
The Family Procedure Rules and Practice Direction have been updated to include amendments made to support the Regulation (EU) No 606/2013 on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters.
This update reflects those amendments made by the Family Procedure (Amendment No.4) Rules 2014 and Practice Direction Amendments that came into force on 11 January 2015. The remaining provisions will come into force on 6 April 2015.
Update 22 April 2014
The update reflects amendments made by the Family Procedure (Amendment No.3) Rules 2013 [SI 2013 No.3204(L.26)], the Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2014 [SI 2014 No.524(L.5)], the Family Procedure (Amendment No.2) Rules 2014 [SI 2014 No.667(L.11)] and the Family Procedure (Amendment No.3) Rules 2014 [SI 2014 No.843(L.15)], in addition to amendments made to the supplementary Practice Directions.
Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is responsible for the FPR forms - if you have any comments or observations about the availability of court forms, email HMCTS.