The Family Procedure Rules 2010

Publication Date:January 01, 2010

2010No. 2955 (L. 17)





The Family Procedure Rules 2010




The Family Procedure Rule Committee makes the following rules in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 75 and 76 of the Courts Act 2003( 1), section 18(1) of the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972( 2), sections 12 and 48 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982( 3), sections 10 and 24 of the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985( 4), section 97(1) of the Children Act 1989( 5), section 54(1) of the Access to Justice Act 1999( 6), sections 52(7), 102, 109(2) and 141(1) and (3) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002( 7), after consulting in accordance with section 79 of the Courts Act 2003( 8).

These rules may be cited as the Family Procedure Rules 2010 and shall come into force on 6th April 2011.



The overriding objective

1.1.-(1)These rules are a new procedural code with the overriding objective of enabling the court to deal with cases justly, having regard to any welfare issues involved.

(2)Dealing with a case justly includes, so far as is practicable-

(a) ensuring that it is dealt with expeditiously and fairly;(b) dealing with the case in ways which are proportionate to the nature, importance and complexity of the issues;(c) ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing;(d) saving expense; and(e) allotting to it an appropriate share of the court's resources, while taking into account the need to allot resources to other cases.

Application by the court of the overriding objective

1.2.The court must seek to give effect to the overriding objective when it-

(a) exercises any power given to it by these rules; or(b) interprets any rule.

Duty of the parties

1.3.The parties are required to help the court to further the overriding objective.

Court's duty to manage cases

1.4.-(1)The court must further the overriding objective by actively managing cases.

(2)Active case management includes-

(a) encouraging the parties to co-operate with each other in the conduct of the proceedings;(b) identifying at an early stage-(i) the issues; and(ii) who should be a party to the proceedings;(c) deciding promptly-(i) which issues need full investigation and hearing and which do not; and(ii) the procedure to be followed in the case;(d) deciding the order in which issues are to be resolved;(e) encouraging the parties to use an alternative dispute resolution procedure if the court considers that appropriate and facilitating the use of such procedure;(f) helping the parties to settle the whole or part of the case;(g) fixing timetables or otherwise controlling the progress of the case;(h) considering whether the likely benefits of taking a particular step justify the cost of taking it;(i) dealing with as many aspects of the case as it can on the same occasion;(j) dealing with the case without the parties needing to attend at court;(k) making use of technology; and(l) giving directions to ensure that the case proceeds quickly and efficiently.



Application of these Rules

2.1.-(1)Unless the context otherwise requires, these rules apply to family proceedings in-

(a) the High Court;(b) a county court; and(c) a magistrates' court.

(2)Nothing in these rules is to be construed as-

(a) purporting to apply to proceedings in a magistrates' court which are not family proceedings within the meaning of section 65 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980( 9) or(b) conferring upon a magistrate a function which a magistrate is not permitted by statute to perform.

The glossary

2.2.-(1)The glossary at the end of these rules is a guide to the meaning of certain legal expressions used in the rules, but is not to be taken as giving those expressions any meaning in the rules which they do not have in the law generally.

(2)Subject to paragraph (3), words in these rules which are included in the glossary are followed by"GL".

(3)The word "service", which appears frequently in the rules, is included in the glossary but is not followed by"GL".


2.3.-(1)In these rules-

"the 1973 Act" means the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973( 10);

"the 1978 Act" means the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Act 1978( 11);

"the 1980 Hague Convention" means the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction which was signed at The Hague on 25 October 1980;

"the 1984 Act" means the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984( 12);

"the 1986 Act" means the Family Law Act 1986( 13);

"the 1989 Act" means the Children Act 1989;

"the 1990 Act" means the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990( 14);

"the 1991 Act" means the Child Support Act 1991( 15);

"the 1996 Act" means the Family Law Act 1996( 16);

"the 1996 Hague Convention" means the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-Operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children;

"the 2002 Act" means the Adoption and Children Act 2002;

"the 2004 Act" means the Civil Partnership Act 2004;

"the 2005 Act" means the Mental Capacity Act 2005( 17);

"the 2008 Act" means the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008( 18);

"adoption proceedings" means proceedings for an adoption order under the 2002 Act;

"Allocation Order" means any order made by the Lord Chancellor under Part 1 of Schedule 11 to the 1989 Act;

"alternative dispute resolution" means methods of resolving a dispute, including mediation, other than through the normal court process;

"application form" means a document in which the applicant states his intention to seek a court order other than in accordance with the Part 18 procedure;

"application notice" means a document in which the applicant states his intention to seek a court order in accordance with the Part 18 procedure;

"Assembly" means the National Assembly for Wales;

"bank holiday" means a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971( 19) -

(a) for the purpose of service of a document within the United Kingdom, in the part of the United Kingdom where service is to take place; and(b) for all other purposes, in England and Wales.

"business day" means any day other than-

(a) a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day or Good Friday; or(b) a bank holiday;

"care order" has the meaning assigned to it by section 31(11) of the 1989 Act;

"CCR" means the County Court Rules 1981, as they appear in Schedule 2 to the CPR;

"child" means a person under the age of 18 years who is the subject of the proceedings; except that-

(a) in adoption proceedings, it also includes a person who has attained the age of 18 years before the proceedings are concluded; and(b) in proceedings brought under the Council Regulation, the 1980 Hague Convention or the European Convention, it means a person under the age of 16 years who is the subject of the proceedings;

"child of the family" has the meaning given to it by section 105(1) of the 1989 Act;

"children and family reporter" means an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer who has been asked to prepare a welfare report under section 7(1)(a) of the 1989( 20) Act or section 102(3)(b) of the 2002 Act;

"children's guardian" means-

(a) in relation to a child who is the subject of and a party to specified proceedings or proceedings to which Part 14 applies, the person appointed in accordance with rule 16.3(1); and(b) in any other case, the person appointed in accordance with rule 16.4;

"civil partnership order" means one of the orders mentioned in section 37 of the 2004 Act;

"civil partnership proceedings" means proceedings for a civil partnership order;

"civil partnership proceedings county court" means a county court so designated by the Lord Chancellor under section 36A of the 1984 Act( 21);

"civil restraint order" means an order restraining a party-

(a) from making any further applications in current proceedings (a limited civil restraint order);(b) from making certain applications in specified courts (an extended civil restraint order); or(c) from making any application in specified courts (a general civil restraint order);

"Commission" means the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission;

"consent order" means an order in the terms applied for to which the respondent agrees;

"contact order" has the meaning assigned to it by section 8(1) of the 1989 Act;

"the Council Regulation" means Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003of 27 November 2003 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility;

"court" means, subject to any rule or other enactment which provides otherwise, the High Court, a county court or a magistrates' court;

(rule 2.5 relates to the power to perform functions of the court.)

"court of trial" means-

(a) in proceedings under the 1973 Act, a divorce county court designated by the Lord Chancellor as a court of trial pursuant to section 33(1) of the 1984 Act( 22); or(b) in proceedings under the 2004 Act, a civil partnership proceedings county court designated by the Lord Chancellor as a court of trial pursuant to section 36A(1)(b) of the 1984 Act; and

in proceedings under the 1973 Act pending in a divorce county court or proceedings under the 2004 Act pending in a civil partnership proceedings county court, the principal registry is treated as a court of trial having its place of sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice;

"court officer" means-

(a) in the High Court or in a county court, a member of court staff; and(b) in a magistrates' court, the designated officer;

("designated officer" is defined in section 37(1) of the Courts Act 2003.)

"CPR" means the Civil Procedure Rules 1998;

"deputy" has the meaning given in section 16(2)(b) of the 2005 Act;

"designated county court" means a court designated as-

(a) a divorce county court;(b)...

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