Matrimonial Causes Rules 1977


1977 No. 344 (L. 6)




The Matrimonial Causes Rules 1977

28thFebruary 1977

10thMarch 1977

1stApril 1977




1. Citation and commencement.

2. Interpretation.

3. Application of other rules.

4. County court proceedings in divorce registry.


5. Application under section 3 of Act of 1973.

6. Proceedings after service of application under section 3 of Act of 1973.

7. Discontinuance of cause before service of petition.

8. Cause to be begun by petition.

9. Contents of petition.

10. Petitioner relying on section 11 or 12 of the Civil Evidence Act 1968.

11. Signing of petition.

12. Presentation of petition.

13. Parties.


14. Service of petition.

15. Notice of intention to defend.

16. Consent to the grant of a decree.


17. Supplemental petition and amendment of petition.

18. Filing of answer to petition.

19. Filing of reply and subsequent pleadings.

20. Filing of pleadings after directions for trial.

21. Contents of answer and subsequent pleadings.

22. Allegation against third person in pleading.

23. Service of pleadings.

24. Supplemental answer and amendment of pleadings.

25. Service and amendment of pleadings in Long Vacation.

26. Particulars.

27. Re-transfer of cause to divorce county court.


28. Discovery of documents in defended cause.

29. Discovery by interrogatories in defended cause.

30. Medical examination in proceedings for nullity.

31. Conduct of medical examination.

32. Order for transfer of cause.

33. Directions for trial.

34. Determination of place of trial.

35. Directions as to allegations under section 1(2)(b) of Act of 1973.

36. Stay under Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973.


37. Evidence generally.

38. Taking of affidavit in county court proceedings.

39. Evidence by affidavit, etc.

40. Evidence of marriage outside England and Wales.

41. Issue of witness summons or subpoena.

42. Hearsay and expert evidence in High Court.


43. Mode and place of trial.

44. Transmission of file etc. on setting down cause.

45. Trial of issue.

46. Lists at divorce towns and exercise of registrar's jurisdiction.

47. Further provisions as to date of trial.

48. Disposal of causes in special procedure list.

49. Right to be heard on ancillary questions.

50. Respondent's statement as to arrangements for children.

51. Order as to arrangements for children to be drawn up.

52. Restoration of matters adjourned etc. at the hearing.

53. Shorthand note etc. of proceedings at trial.

54. Application for re-hearing.


55. Decrees and orders.

56. Application for rescission of decree.

57. Application under section 10(2) of Act of 1973.

58. Copies of decrees and orders.

59. Service of order.

60. Service of decree or order requiring act to be done.

61. Intervention to show cause by Queen's Proctor.

62. Intervention to show cause by person other than Queen's Proctor.

63. Intervention to show cause to be tried in London.

64. Rescission of decree nisi by consent.

65. Decree absolute on lodging notice.

66. Decree absolute on application.

67. Indorsement and certificate of decree absolute.


68. Application by petitioner or respondent for ancillary relief.

69. Application by guardian etc. for ancillary relief in respect of children.

70. Application in Form 11 or 12.

71. Application for ancillary relief after order of magistrates' court.

72. Children to be separately represented on certain applications.

73. General provisions as to evidence etc. on application for ancillary relief.

74. Evidence on application for property adjustment or avoidance of disposition order.

75. Evidence on application for variation order.

76. Service of affidavit in answer or reply.

77. Investigation by registrar of application for ancillary relief.

78. Order on application for ancillary relief.

79. Reference of application to judge.

80. Transfer of application for ancillary relief: general provisions.

81. Transfer to High Court for purpose of expedition.

82. Arrangements for hearing of application etc. by judge.

83. Request for periodical payments order at same rate as order for maintenance pending suit.

84. Application for order under section 37(2)(a) of Act of 1973.

85. Exclusion of sections 99 and 101 of County Courts Act 1959.


86. Enforcement of order for payment of money, etc.

87. Judgment summonses: general provisions.

88. Special provisions as to judgment summonses in the High Court.

89. Special provisions as to judgment summonses in divorce county courts.

90. Committal and injunction.

91. Removal of county court order into High Court.


92. Custody, care and supervision of children.

93. Further provisions as to orders under sections 43 and 44 of Act of 1973.

94. Removal of child out of England and Wales.

95. Reference to court welfare officer.

96. Notice of other proceedings relating to children.

97. Transfer of proceedings relating to children.


98. Application in case of wilful neglect to maintain.

99. Transfer and hearing of applications under rule 98.

100. Application for alteration of maintenance agreement during lifetime of parties.

101. Application for alteration of maintenance agreement after death of one party.

102. Further proceedings on application under rule 101.

103. Application of other rules to proceedings under section 35 or 36 of Act of 1973.

104. Proceedings in High Court under section 17 of Act of 1882.

105. Transfer of proceedings under section 17 of Act of 1882, etc.

106. Exercise in divorce registry of county court jurisdiction under section 17 of Act of 1882, etc.

107. Proceedings under sections 1 and 7 of Matrimonial Homes Act 1967.

108. Proceedings in respect of polygamous marriage.

109. Application for declaration affecting matrimonial status.

110. Application under section 45 of Act of 1973 for a declaration of legitimacy or legitimation.

111. General provisions as to proceedings under rule 109 or 110.


112. Person under disability must sue by next friend, etc.

113. Service on person under disability.

114. Petition for nullity on ground of insanity, etc.

115. Separate representation of children.


116. Security for costs.

117. Service out of England and Wales.

118. Service by post.

119. Service of documents where no special mode of service prescribed.

120. Service by bailiff in proceedings in divorce registry.

121. Proof of service by officer of court, etc.

122. Mode of making applications.

123. Place of hearing of application by judge.

124. Appeal from registrar in county court proceedings.

125. No notice of intention to proceed after year's delay.

126. Filing of documents at place of hearing, etc.

127. Mode of giving notice.

128. Removal of proceedings to High Court under section 115 of County Courts Act 1959.

129. Procedure on transfer of cause or application.


130. Inspection etc. of documents retained in court.

131. Practice to be observed in district registries and divorce county courts.

132. Revocations and savings.

Schedule: Rules revoked.

Appendix 1: Forms.

Appendix 2: Contents of Petition.

We, the authority having power to make rules of court for the purposes mentioned in section 50 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973(a), hereby exercise that power and all other powers enabling us in that behalf as follows:—


Citation and commencement

1. These Rules may be cited as the Matrimonial Causes Rules 1977 and shall come into operation on 1st April 1977.


2.—(1) The Interpretation Act 1889(b) shall apply to the interpretation of these Rules as it applies to the interpretation of an Act of Parliament.

(2) In these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires—

"the Act of 1882" means the Married Women's Property Act 1882(c);

"the Act of 1967" means the Matrimonial Causes Act 1967(d);

"the Act of 1973" means the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973;

"ancillary relief" means—

(a) an avoidance of disposition order,

(b) a financial provision order,

(c) an order for maintenance pending suit,

(d) a property adjustment order, or

(e) a variation order;

"avoidance of disposition order" means an order under section 37(2)(b) or (c) of the Act of 1973;

"cause" means a matrimonial cause as defined by section 10(1) of the Act of 1967;

"court" means a judge or the registrar;

"court of trial" means a divorce county court designated by the Lord Chancellor as a court of trial pursuant to section 1(1) of the Act of 1967 and, in relation to matrimonial proceedings pending in a divorce county court, the divorce registry shall be treated as a court of trial having its place of sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice;

"defended cause" means a cause not being an undefended cause;

"directions for trial" means directions for trial given under rule 33;

"district registry" means any district registry having a divorce county court within its district;

"divorce county court" means a county court so designated by the Lord Chancellor pursuant to section 1(1) of the Act of 1967;

"divorce registry" means the principal registry of the Family Division;

(a) 1973 c. 18.

(b) 1889 c. 63.

(c) 1882 c. 75.

(d) 1967 c. 56.

"divorce town", in relation to any matrimonial proceedings, means a place at which sittings of the High Court are authorised to be held outside the Royal Courts of Justice for the hearing of those proceedings or proceedings of the class to which they belong;

"financial provision order" means any of the orders mentioned in section 21(1) of the Act of 1973 except an order under section 27(6) of that Act;

"financial relief" has the same meaning as in section 37 of the Act of 1973;

"matrimonial proceedings" means any proceedings with respect to which rules may be made under section 50 of the Act of 1973;

"notice of intention to defend" has the meaning...

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