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The single Family Court will be implemented on 22 April 2014. On the same day, the majority of the family justice provisions in the Children and Families Act 2014 will come into force too.
When the new single Family Court comes into operation it will be able to deal with all family proceedings (except for a limited number of matters which will be exclusively reserved to the High Court). However, as the Family Court can sit anywhere in England and Wales, it will be possible for it to sit in any existing County or Magistrates' court building.
Lay magistrates and all levels of judges will be able to sit in the Family Court. The changes mean that most proceedings will now be issued by the Family Court and cases will be allocated as soon as possible to the appropriate level of judge. This means that cases will no longer need to be transferred between the old tiers of court which will help avoid any unnecessary delays.
From 22 April 2014, applicants will send their applications to their nearest Family Court point of entry. Details of points of entries can be found on the HMCTS court finder by selecting the appropriate area of law and entering a postcode: https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk HMCTS will then show where the case will be heard.
In addition, many family court forms have been amended and a few have had their titles changed. Most old versions of forms will be accepted but certain forms have been significantly amended and so old versions will not generally be accepted. Before issuing any court proceedings, we advise you check with the court or your legal advisor whether the court form you intend on using is the correct one.
For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.Back to Law Articles