More work for family magistrates

07 NOV 2008

The Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008 and the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Practice Direction have both been published with most of their provisions coming into force on 25 November.

The Order provides for the allocation and transfer of certain proceedings concerning children and proceedings under Part 4 and 4A of the Family Law Act 1996 between the High Court, county courts and magistrates' courts.

The objective of the Practice Direction is to ensure that the criteria for the transfer of proceedings are applied in such a way that proceedings are heard at the appropriate level of court, that the capacity of magistrates' courts is properly utilised and that proceedings are only dealt with in the High Court if the relevant criteria are met.

It is widely recognised that that there is spare capacity among Family Panels. Family magistrates, who in recent times have seen their work load reduced, will welcome the move as it is likely to ensure that the Family Proceedings Courts will get more work. Practitioners should also be pleased as the change should release the higher judiciary to hear the more complex cases and reduce delays.

The Order can be downloaded from the Newswatch Legislation section by clicking here.

The Practice Direction can be downloaded from the Newswatch Practice Guidance section by clicking here.

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