Matrimonial Causes Act 1967

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1967 c. 56


Matrimonial Causes Act 1967

1967 CHAPTER 56

An Act to confer jurisdiction on county courts in certain matrimonial proceedings; and for purposes connected therewith.

[21st July 1967]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Jurisdiction of country courts in undefended matrimonial causes.

1 Jurisdiction of country courts in undefended matrimonial causes.

(1) The Lord Chancellor may by order designate any county court as a divorce county court, and any court so designated shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any undefended matrimonial cause, except that it shall have jurisdiction to try such a cause only if it is also designated in the order as a court of trial.

(2) The jurisdiction conferred by this Act on a divorce county court shall be exercisable throughout England and Wales, but rules of court may provide for a matrimonial cause pending in one such court to be heard and determined in another or partly in that and partly in another.

(3) Every matrimonial cause shall be commenced in a divorce county court, but rules of court—

(a ) shall provide for the transfer to the High Court of any matrimonial cause which ceases to be undefended; and

(b ) may provide for the transfer to that court of matrimonial causes which remain undefended.

(4) Rules of court may provide for the transfer or retransfer from the High Court to a divorce county court of any matrimonial cause which is or again becomes undefended.

(5) Rules of court shall define the circumstances in which any matrimonial cause is to be treated for the purposes of this Act as undefended, and may make different provision with respect to matrimonial causes of different descriptions.

(6) The power to make an order under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument and includes power to vary or revoke such an order by a subsequent order.

S-2 Ancillary relief and protection of children.

2 Ancillary relief and protection of children.

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, a divorce county court shall have jurisdiction to exercise any power exercisable under Part II or Part III of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 in connection with any petition, decree or order pending in or made by such a court and to exercise any power under section 22 or section 24 of that Act.

(2) Any proceedings for the exercise of a power which a divorce county court has jurisdiction to exercise by virtue of this section shall be commenced in such divorce county court as may be prescribed by rules of court; but rules of court shall provide for the transfer to the High Court of any proceedings pending in a county court by virtue of this section in any case where the transfer appears to the county court to be desirable, and may so provide in such other cases as may be specified in the rules.

(3) A divorce county court shall not by virtue of this section have jurisdiction to exercise any power under sections 25 to 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965, but without prejudice to the exercise by virtue of section 7 of the Family Provision Act 1966 of any power exercisable by a county court under section 26 or 27 of the said Act of 1965.

(4) Nothing in this section shall affect the jurisdiction of a magistrates' court under section 24 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965.

S-3 Consideration of agreements or arrangements.

3 Consideration of agreements or arrangements.

3. Any provision to be made by rules of court for the purposes of section 5(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 with respect to any power exercisable by the court on an application made before the presentation of a petition shall confer jurisdiction to exercise the power on divorce county courts.

S-4 County court proceedings in principal probate registry.

4 County court proceedings in principal probate registry.

(1) Sections 1 to 3 of this Act shall not prevent the commencement of any proceedings in the principal probate registry, except where rules of court under section 2(2) of this Act otherwise provide; and the following provisions of this section shall have effect for the purpose of enabling proceedings to be dealt with in that registry as in a divorce county court.

(2) The jurisdiction conferred by this Act on divorce county courts shall be exercised in the principal probate registry—

(a ) so far as it is exercisable by judges of such courts, at such sittings and in such places as the Lord Chancellor may direct; and

(b ) so far as it is exercisable by registrars of such courts, by such registrars or by registrars and other officers of the principal probate registry, according as rules of court may provide;

and rules of court may make provision for treating, for any purposes specified in the rules, proceedings pending in that registry with respect to which that jurisdiction is exercisable as pending in a divorce county court and for the application of section 73(4) of the Solicitors Act 1957 (amount of costs allowed on taxation in connection with proceedings in a county court) with respect to any proceedings so treated.

(3) The principal probate registry shall be treated as a divorce county court—

(a ) for the purpose of any provision to be made by rules of court under section 1(2) of this Act; and

(b ) for the purpose of any provision to be made under section 2(2) of this Act prescribing the county court in which any proceedings are to be commenced.

(4) Rules of court shall make provision for securing, with respect...

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