PRACTICE DIRECTION 36M – PILOT SCHEME: ONLINE SYSTEM FOR CERTAIN PUBLIC LAW PROCEEDINGS AND EMERGENCY PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO CHILDREN

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 36, rule 36.2 (Transitional Arrangements and Pilot Schemes).

TitleNumber
Scope and interpretationPara. 1
Purpose of the Pilot SchemePara. 2
Modification of the FPR and Practice Directions during operation of the Pilot SchemePara. 3
MODIFICATIONS THAT APPLY GENERALLY TO APPLICATIONS IN THE PILOT SCHEME 
Modification of Part 5 FPRPara. 4
Modification of Part 17 FPRPara. 5
Disapplication of Practice Direction 5BPara. 6
Modification of Practice Direction 17APara. 7

Scope and interpretation

Scope and interpretation

1.1 This Practice Direction is made under rule 36.2 and sets up a Pilot Scheme to allow for certain applications and stages in the proceedings specified in paragraph 1.3(a) of this Practice Direction to be completed using an online system.

1.2 This Practice Direction comes into force on 31 January 2019.

1.3 The Pilot Scheme applies where all of the following conditions are met:

(a) the application is -

(i) for an order in public law proceedings, as defined in rule 12.2 FPR;

(ii) for a secure accommodation order under section 119 of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014;

(iii) for an order in emergency proceedings, as defined in rule 12.2 FPR; or

(iv) made within proceedings for an order referred to in paragraph (i), (ii) or (iii);

(aa) the application is made by-

(i) a Local Authority;

(ii) Cafcass or Cafcass Cymru; or

(iii) a legally represented party to proceedings;

(b) access to the online system for making and continuing such applications is permitted;

(c) the process provided for in the online system can be completed;

(d) the application is started in the family court; and

(e) the application is filed in the period commencing 31 January 2019 and ending 31 April 2021.

1.4 In this Practice Direction, “the online system” means Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service’s online system to allow for certain stages in applications specified in paragraph 1.3(a) of this Practice Direction to be dealt with online.

Purpose of the Pilot Scheme

2.1 The purpose of this Pilot Scheme is to assess the use of new practices and procedures to allow for certain stages in applications specified in paragraph 1.3(a) of this Practice Direction to be completed using the online system.

2.2 This Pilot Scheme enables a person or body referred to in paragraph 1.3(aa) to start, progress and participate in proceedings via the online system, to include taking the following steps -

(a) to create and file an application referred to in paragraph 1.3(a)(i), (ii) or (iii) to commence proceedings;

(b) to file an application referred to in paragraph 1.3(a)(iv);

(c) in respect of an application referred to in sub-paragraph (a) or (b), to-

(i) file documents;

(ii) amend the application;

(iii) indicate willingness to accept service of documents relating to the application via email containing a weblink from which a document may be accessed and downloaded; and

(iv) accept service of any documents relating to the application;

(d) to view an electronic record of the progress of the application and of applications within proceedings that are progressing using the online system.

2.3 For the avoidance of doubt, it should not be assumed that an application of a type specified in paragraph 1.3(a), or any or all stages of such an application, will always be able to be dealt with on the online system. This is because Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service will be gradually rolling out the types of application that can be dealt with via the online system. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service will indicate via the online system which applications can be dealt with on the online system at any point in time.

Modification of the FPR and Practice Directions during the operation of the Pilot Scheme

3.1 During the operation of the Pilot Scheme, the Family Procedure Rules 2010 and the Practice Directions supporting the rules will apply to cases falling within the Pilot Scheme as modified by paragraphs 4.1 to 7.2.

Modification of rule 2.3(1) FPR

3A.1 In rule 2.3(1) FPR, the definition of “filing” is modified by inserting after “office”-

“or, where the Pilot Scheme referred to in Practice Direction 36M applies, by creating and submitting, or by or uploading, the document on the online system referred to in that Practice Direction”.

Modification of Part 5 FPR

4.1 For rule 5.1, substitute-

“5.1 Where the Pilot Scheme referred to in Practice Direction 36M applies, the applicant must-

(a) either-

(i) complete all sections of the application process set out in the online system referred to in that Practice Direction; or

(ii) upload the application to the online system in the manner specified by the online system;

(b) provide all the information, including any additional documents, that the online application system referred to in that Practice Direction requires, or that the court requires, in a manner specified by the online application system, or required by the court.”.

4.2 In rule 5.2 for “Subject” substitute “Where rule 5.1(a)(ii) applies, subject

Modification of Part 17 FPR

5.1 In rule 17.2(6), for “The statement of truth” substitute “Subject to paragraph (6A), the statement of truth”.

5.2 After rule 17.2(6) insert-

“(6A) Where a statement of truth is included in an application completed using the online system referred to in Practice Direction 36M applies, the applicant must file with the court an application which includes the name of the person who the online system requires to sign a statement of truth recorded against the statement of truth.”

Modification of Part 29 FPR

5A.1 After rule 29.13(1) insert-

“(1A) Where the pilot scheme referred to in Practice Direction 36M applies, service under paragraph (1) or otherwise may be effected by the court sending each party an email, to the address given for service in accordance with Practice Direction 6A, containing a weblink from which the judgment or order may be accessed and downloaded."

Disapplication of Practice Direction 5B

Modification of Practice Direction 6A

6A.1 After paragraph 4.1 insert-

4.1A Paragraphs 4.2 to 4.6 also apply where-

(a) the pilot scheme referred to in Practice Direction 36M applies; and

(b) service of a judgment or order by the court is to be effected in accordance with rule 29.13(1A), as inserted by Practice Direction 36M.

4.1B Where paragraph 4.1A applies, references in paragraphs 4.2 to 4.5 to service of a document by email include service of a judgment or order by the court sending by email a weblink from which the judgment or order may be accessed and downloaded.

6B.1 In paragraph 4.2(b)-

(a)in paragraph (iii) for “; or” substitute “;”;

(b)in paragraph (iv) for the full-stop substitute “; or”; and

(c)after paragraph (iv) insert-

“(v) confirmation given, by the party to be served, within the online system referred to in Practice Direction 36M that that party is willing to accept service by email and stating the email address for such service.”

Modification of Practice Direction 17A

7.1 Omit paragraphs 1.5 and 2.3.

7.2 In the heading to paragraph 3.1 and in paragraphs 3.1, 3.4, 3.7, 3.8 and 3.10 references to “sign”, “signs”, “signed” and “signing” are to be read as references to checking a box next to the statement of truth included in applications to which the pilot scheme referred to in Practice Direction 36M applies.

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