The Family Procedure Rules govern the practices and procedures used in the Family Court, as well as those used in family proceedings in the High Court, in England and Wales.
Amendments have been made to the Parts 4 and 9 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010) by the Family Procedure Rule Committee, exercising their power conferred by the Courts Act 2003 and in accordance with that Act. The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2018 were laid before Parliament on 27th March 2018 and will come into force on 4th June 2018.
The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2018 deal with some procedural changes. The changes primarily relate to two distinct court procedures for making a financial remedy application in family proceedings. The procedure set out in Chapter 4 of FPR 2010 is renamed “standard procedure” and the procedure set out in Chapter 5 of FPR 2010 is renamed “fast-track procedure.”
The types of financial remedy application that the “fast-track procedure” applies to are clarified in Rule 5. The procedure would apply mainly to applications where the financial remedy sought is only for an order for periodical payments. In Rule 8, the timescale for completion of the fast-track procedure is changed from 4-8 weeks to 6-10 weeks. Rule 9 makes provisions for requests of a change of procedure on behalf of the applicant – the right of the court to order a change of procedure from “fast-track” to “standard” is already guaranteed by Rule 5. Rule 11 inserts new procedures in relation to the conduct of the first hearing in a case to which the “fast-track procedure” applies.
Importantly, the Amendment Rules - in Rule 3 - also confirm the express power of the High Court to direct proceedings to be heard before a Divisional Court of the High Court.
Read the Family Procedure (Amendment) 2018 Rules here.