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Family Court Practice, The

(Red Book)

FROM £498.00

Pre-order the 2018 edition due out in May


"Indispensable ... the single book that every family practitioner and every family judge must have" Sir James Munby 

The Family Court Practice (the Red Book), covers the entire range of family business and contains all the essential materials you need to practice in the Family Court.

The new edition will be fully updated to include the latest case-law, full coverage of new and amended legislation, Practice Directions and guidance. It will also contain fully and expertly annotated statutes and rules together with scores of unique step-by-step procedural guides, which direct you effortlessly to the relevant rules and annotation.

*Please note that there is an additional cost for non-UK mainland p&p.
Table of Statutes
Table of Statutory Instruments
Table of Cases
Table of Practice Directions
Table of CPR, FPR and Supreme Court Practice Directions

Part I: Procedural Guides

Detailed guidance covering the following areas:

  • Applications for Relief Other Than Divorce;
  • Application for Matrimonial and Civil Partnership Proceedings and Related Orders;
  • Enforcement of Orders;
  • Children;
  • Judicial Reviews and Appeals;
  • Miscellaneous.

Part II: Statutes

Pertinent provisions of all relevant statutes, reproduced in amended form and annotated by the expert team of contributors.

Part III: Procedure Rules

The full text of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 and practice directions, plus relevant provisions and practice directions from the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 and the Supreme Court Rules 2009. All provisions are reproduced as amended, along with detailed explanation and guidance.

Part IV: Statutory Instruments

Pertinent provisions of all relevant SIs appear in amended form, with commentary from the expert team of contributors.

Part V: Practice Guidance

Relevant practice guidance for family law practitioners.

Part VI: European Material

Coverage of significant European Regulations and Conventions, all fully annotated.

Part VII: Welsh Materials (Autumn Supplement and Online only)

Essential materials relating to children law in Wales.

Summary of Fees
"May I voice, I am sure on behalf of all of us, my appreciation and thanks for the enormous effort that everyone involved with The Red Book put into the preparation of the 2014 edition.

The Red Book is indispensable. It is the single book that every family practitioner and every family judge must have. Where would we be without it?

The sheer scale of the reforms that came into effect on 22 April 2014 – how many pages of the 2013 Red Book were left unscathed? – imposed immense challenges on the publishers, the editors and everyone else involved in the process of producing the 2014 edition. It was vital that the new edition should contain the ‘new’ law, not the old, and that it should be available as soon as possible after 22 April 2014, but the final pieces of the statutory jigsaw were still being put in place in March and the resulting delays meant that the usual publishing schedule had to be pushed back. The editors and contributors worked heroically to finalise the text as soon as possible, Jordan Publishing willingly agreed to re-arrange the publishing schedule, and the production team achieved great feats. The 2014 Red Bookwas available, completely up-to-date, first on-line and very shortly after in print, remarkably soon after 22 April 2014. An astonishing feat! Thank you! ..."
Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division
Taken from Family Law journal, September, View from the President's Chambers (13).

"... You need -- urgently -- the evergreen, ever authoritative, ever reliable ‘Red Book’ by your side to assist you in your travail ... Its editorial team is truly top drawer ... universally regarded now (throughout its twenty-five year history of annual publication) as ‘the Bible of family law’ ... Definitely the family law advocate’s friend, it is reputed to be found positioned in front of every family law judge in every family law court ...The beauty and utility of the book lies with the detailed and directly useful commentaries which follow the procedural rules and statutes contained in the relevant sections throughout ..."
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers (2017 edition) Read¦ Watch more

"Familiarly known as ‘The Red Book,’ The Family Court Practice, with its annual updates, has remained reassuringly authoritative and reliable since it was first published in 1993 – a time frame in which civil procedure for family work has undergone considerable change. Scarcely a family lawyer or family court judge is ever without it - and it has now entered the realm of the tried and true, having established itself as the definitive reference on family proceedings at every level of court … and it is the book you always see in court ..."
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers (2015 edition) Read ¦ Watch more

"The reference work of choice for all practitioners dealing with cases in the single Family Court"
Head of Chambers Alex Verdan QC, 4 Paper Buildings

"The 2012 edition of The Family Court Practice continues to build on the substantial work undertaken by this publication in 2011, to get up to speed with the fundamental changes brought about by the introduction of the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

The commentary to the new rules has been developed further and is impressively comprehensive. The procedural guides are fully up to date with references to the new Forms, as well as the new Practice Directions and Rules and this section of the book continues to be a useful launch pad for the most common applications. Where there is any deficiency in clarity, this can be traced back to the rules themselves. 

Going forward we continue to have high expectations that the 'Red Book' will keep the profession fully briefed on the latest clarifications to the Rules and more generally on the developments within Family law. The Autumn Supplement published in November is a valuable addition to the annual update."
Mark Harper, Withers LLP

"It is not surprising that this book has, over the years, emerged as the standard work of reference in family law and has therefore become an essential acquisition for the family law practitioner"
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers (2014 edition) Read more >>

"Every year since 1993, 'The Family Court Practice' - the much valued 'Red Book' - has provided what has become the definitive work of reference in family law ... The 2011 edition reflects some quite enormous changes that have taken place since last year's edition. The most important change, with which all family practitioners are familiarizing themselves, is the coming into force in April 2011 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010, which extend to some 273 pages of text ... The fact that this work is published yearly keeps it topical and up to date ... such attributes include its ease of use, compactness, clarity of presentation and the reliabilty of the text ... "Where do I find it in the Red Book?" is, according to Wilson, a commonplace query on the part of the judges and woebetide the practitioner who hasn't brought a copy along.So if you haven't bought this year's particularly important edition, better do it now."
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers (2013 edition)


"invaluable ... I cannot now imagine being without it"
New Law Journal

"the clear market leader ... no serious family lawyer will practise without it ... brilliant! Buy it!"
Solicitors Journal
When first published in 1993, The Family Court Practice was new and innovative, designed to meet the need for a definitive work of reference covering the entire range of family proceedings at every level of court. It was hoped then that it might stand alongside The Supreme Court Practice and The County Court Practice as the comprehensive and authoritative guide for practitioners.

Over the ensuing years the hope has become reality and as civil procedure has changed so The Family Court Practice has been updated annually to reflect developments in law and procedure. The work is now universally accepted as a standard book of reference for judges and practitioners throughout the jurisdiction. Congratulations are due to the team of contributors who have achieved so much in just a few years.

The Hon Mrs Justice Bracewell
Family Division
February 2001
Nine years ago, when I became Editor-in-Chief of The Family Court Practice, I wrote a Foreword to it. It is time to write another one. The themes are the same – my pride at being associated with something now essential for family practitioners and my admiration for those who combine year after year to create it for them. But the circumstances are different. For this 2017 edition of the book is the 25th edition. It calls for a celebration.

In 1993, the choice of title was prescient, anticipating as it did the creation of the Family Court by 21 years. Bound in the arresting colour which was to precipitate its popular name, it then ran to 1773 pages. This year’s edition, however, has 2982 pages. Much of the book’s success has been achieved by the comprehensive inclusion of the texts of all manner of instruments relating to family law (indeed it seems no longer to have significant competition in that regard) and every year brings a net accretion of such material to which practitioners must have access.

When I compare the first edition with this 25th, there is one remarkable feature: there has been no change in the identity of the General Editor. Anthony Cleary, then a District Judge and now a Circuit Judge, represents the pivot around which the assembly of each year’s edition revolves. Within days of one year’s publication, his work begins on the volume for the following year. He reads the mass of new material generated each week (yes, I accept that there is a real problem about the length of our family judgments) and he reaches a provisional decision as to whether, and if so where and to what extent, it should be accommodated in the book. He invites the relevant contributor to address it accordingly; appraises the response; and of course carries the burden of ultimate responsibility for the book’s treatment of it. His contribution has been … just brilliant.

Anthony’s introduction to the first edition intriguingly highlights the longevity of the book. He there referred to two challenges. First, the ‘considerable’ challenge presented by the Child Support Act 1991. That was to put it mildly. Secondly, the fact that Lord Mackay, then the Lord Chancellor, ‘has challenged the profession to consider mediation as a route to the resolution of disputes’. There we see the first articulation of an idea (do I detect some circumspection in Anthony’s reference to it?) which has developed into a mainstream feature of the system. In this year’s Introduction, by contrast, the challenges are very different (and, I am sure, more intractable): underfunded children’s services; a mass of self-represented parties; overcrowded court lists; and demoralised judges.

The praise for the Red Book consistently given by Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has been of profound value to all of us who are associated with it. In his address to the Family Law Bar Association at its dinner last year, he described it as ‘a remarkable monument of legal publishing’. But his reference to it was in the context of a visionary presentation of a future digital family court where the necessary forms and rules, all much simplified, would be embedded in its software; and in which applications would be not only issued online but mostly determined online by video link or even just in writing. At that point, the President’s vision became apocalyptic and he foresaw a day when this, our monument of legal publishing, would be ‘fit only for the bonfire’. One day the President’s prophecy may come true. But I would respectfully urge our readers to try to resist the temptation to fling their Red Books onto a fire quite yet.

Nicholas Wilson
Justice of the Supreme Court February 2017
Editor-in-Chief: The Rt Hon Lord Wilson of Culworth
General Editor: His Honour Judge Anthony Cleary
Consulting Editor: The Rt Hon Lady Black of Derwent

District Judge Michael Anson, Preston Combined Court Centre and Nominated Judge of the Court of Protection
David Burrows BA, Solicitor Advocate
Andrew Commins, MA, LLM, Barrister, St John’s Chambers
Ruth Henke QC
Neil Hickman, Former District Judge
Robert Hill, Recorder. Former District Judge and Regional Costs Judge, North Eastern Circuit
Elizabeth Isaacs QC, Deputy High Court Judge
The Hon Mr Justice Keehan
The Hon Mr Justice MacDonald
The Rt Hon Lord Justice McFarlane
Her Honour Nasreen Pearce
David Salter MA, LLM, Solicitor. Recorder and Deputy High Court Judge
Maggie Silver, BA, Solicitor, Family Legal Team Manager, East London Family Court


Family practitioners and the Family Court face troubling times. The legal landscape is increasingly populated by alarming metaphors: from the measured words of the Lord Chief Justice, the crisis in courts is ‘unprecedented’ (third annual report to Parliament); then to ‘Justice in Freefall’ (Legal Action Group, January 2017); ‘Public confidence in the “secret” family justice system is “shaky”’ (Association of Lawyers for Children, January 2017); ‘crisis in the Family Court on the horizon’ (Family Law, November 2016); ‘[w]e are approaching a crisis for which we are ill-prepared and where there is ] no clear strategy to manage the crisis’ (15th View from the President’s Chambers); ‘Fed-up judges on the edge’ (Law Society Gazette, February 2017). The debate, if there is one, was exacerbated in January 2017 by the assertion by the International Red Cross that the provision of social care in the UK now faces a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

The hyperbole, if that is what it was, sought to address or expose the poor state of funding for the elderly in the community and the manning of overworked and under resourced Accident and Emergency departments, but it hides a darker truth. A good proportion of the community will have occasion, perhaps more than once, to visit hospital.

A larger number will have experience of the provision (or lack of it) of care in the community. The description by the Red Cross, described as ‘unhelpful’ by at least one commentator, may still not resonate with the Government until more attention is paid to the issue. What appears to be overlooked, however, is the funding crisis which presents itself to local authorities in the poorest areas of the country, struggling as they are to make provision for children’s services in the face of an inexorable rise in care applications. The tensions facing councils which have to respond positively to central Government demands for only modest and even negligible rises in council tax, while addressing the increased cost of elderly care, educational provision, policing and even highway repair – all in plain sight of constituents – result in inevitable shortfalls, leading to local outcry.

That community outcry, however, is notable for its silence when it comes to the provision of services for children at risk of harm. Until a child is murdered. But it seems that assistance from Whitehall simply will not be considered, while an innovative suggestion by a council in the Home Counties that there be a local referendum to test the willingness of the public to accept an increase in council tax appears to have been quietly shelved. And so another local authority, the latest being a cathedral city to the west of the country, is singled out for its failures.

One might wonder whether, let alone when, anyone will listen. As an example, the 16th View from Sir James Munby’s chambers makes sobering reading. The President writes of his attempts, which now stretch back over 2 years, to alert Government to the issue of vulnerable witnesses. Having expressed his increasing dissatisfaction with the apparent inertia of the legislature, both by reference to case-law emerging from the Division, and in addresses to the FLBA, his View draws together the alerts of the Children and Vulnerable Witnesses Working Group, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence, Women’s Aid (‘Nineteen Child Homicides’), his presentation to Swansea University (‘Unheard voices: the involvement of children and vulnerable people in the family justice system’), Parliamentary debate and even the BBC. The flavour of what might be described as a remarkable response to the BBC, to whom the Ministry provided a prepared statement, can be judged from the opening sentence: ‘We have a generous legal aid system that provides support to a range of cases.’

It seems that the combination of criticism, comment and continued endeavour might at last be producing some response. The President’s View was published in January 2017, and this Introduction was prepared 2 months later. We shall see. Meanwhile, local authorities, Cafcass and the Family Court all struggle with a tsunami of applications. One of the consequences of the withdrawal of legal aid from private law proceedings has been a mushrooming of unrepresented parties making without notice (and therefore unlisted) applications for personal protection or for relief across the s 8 Children Act menu. It appears that a number of family hearing centres do not have a full judicial complement, and District Judges in particular can be presented with applications which somehow have to be shoehorned into lists which are already running at over-capacity. All tiers of court face a seemingly inexorable rise in demand without a parallel increase in resourcing. Thus, in September 2016, the Ministry of Justice published the then latest legal aid and family court statistics: in over 30% of cases in the Family Court, neither side is represented; applications for care orders increase at a rate which is likely to extend beyond 20% per year; private law applications increased in the second quarter of 2016 by 16%; and applications relating to deprivation of liberty doubled in the same quarter. Worryingly, the only downward movement was seen in the take-up of MIAMS, which reduced by 12%, while adoption applications reduced by 4%.

The Court of Appeal has been so overburdened that appeals in private family law cases are now to be fielded by the High Court, a device which will in all probability cause further difficulties downstream when ultimately the delegation of work will meet such an accumulation that hearing dates and lists will stretch into the far distance. That the time taken to conclude care cases averages just 27 weeks is testament to the personnel who man the barricades, but it is unlikely that the timetable can be maintained without an increasing counterbalance against other court business, which is already exemplified by the average time for the disposal of divorce cases with financial remedies steadily increasing from a reported 20.5 weeks in early 2015 to 24.9 weeks a year later.

Readers might search in vain for a cure. In the public domain, two examples stand out: PAUSE and Settlement Conferences (SCs), both of which have found favour with the President. But significant doubts have been expressed, which might be shared by practitioners who are troubled by the suggestion that a Judge (in SCs) can change from adjudicator to facilitator – or even negotiator – with all the appearance of seeking to persuade a parent to abandon opposition to an application to remove his or her child and perhaps to agree to a change in that child’s legal and familial identity. The legal representatives of the parent(s) might find themselves in professional difficulty when they introduce their client(s) to the process, while the parent(s) could be forgiven for wondering whether they now face an alliance of local authority and Judge, with limited assistance of legal personnel to whom they have turned for advice and representation. In financial remedy applications, the Financial Dispute Resolution appointment is universally accepted as a significant help in the reduction of conflict and costs, and indeed in the empowerment of the parties who experience the return of their lives to their own control rather than that of their lawyers and the Court. But observers might not easily identify where it is that a parent is equally empowered by the surrender of their child.

Readers might, in general, welcome the motives which underpin PAUSE, provided that coercion is not part of the plan. The guiding principle will receive greater support if it is not a cost-saving exercise but rather a helping hand to young mothers who out of ignorance or desperation seek comfort in or simply cannot avoid conception of another child. The conundrum is that entry to PAUSE requires a degree of insight and commitment, both of which are often missing when a family comes to the attention of the local authority and then the Court.

And then there is Brexit. Contrary to some public opinion, European jurisprudence is not confined to sovereignty or to the curvature of bananas, and in its more helpful form has been gently woven into UK statute- and case-law. If we are to throw out the bathwater, we must take great care to observe what might go with it, let alone what might replace it.

As yet, one might be forgiven for the impression that family lawyers are getting on with the business of representing and protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and have little time, let alone the appetite, for looking into the unknown.

Anthony Cleary
March 2017
All you need to do is order your copy of The Family Court Practice (main work) and the Autumn Supplement will be sent to you, upon publication, to keep you reliably updated on the latest developments.

The Supplement includes amended Welsh legislation in relation to children in need and looked-after children, plus expanded and updated commentary to guide you through the differences in law and procedure between England and Wales. This is a vital resource for practitioners covering children cases with a Welsh element and the materials will also appear in The Family Court Practice Online, along with the relevant Codes of Practice.

2017 Autumn Supplement (and Welsh Materials)

The Autumn Supplement updates the 2017 edition of The Family Court Practice with all the latest relevant legislation, case-law and guidance, plus revised commentary.

The Supplement includes the new FPR 2010, Pt 3A (plus PD3AA), which deals with the participation of vulnerable persons in proceedings and giving evidence. It places a duty upon the court to consider the vulnerability of a party or witness and to consider how they might participate in the court proceedings or give evidence.

Also included is the revised FPR PD12J – Child Arrangements and Contact Orders: Domestic Abuse and Harm, which provides a broader definition of ‘domestic abuse’ as opposed to ‘domestic violence’ and makes mandatory requirements for a number of matters to be included in court orders.

The Supplement also brings you the latest case reports, including Owens v Owens [2017] EWCA Civ 182 on the issue of no-fault divorce, and Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council [2017] UKSC 60 where the Supreme Court held the local authority vicariously liable for physical and sexual abuse suffered by the claimant while in two different foster placements during the 1980s.

Purchase, download and start reading the Red Book within minutes 

Available in ePDF format your eBook will have all the expert content of the hardback format, but with the added benefits of a keyword search function, ability to bookmark pages, annotate and highlight text.

The 2018 eBook is only available directly through LexisNexis. Add the eBook to your shopping cart, once payment has been received the eBook will be emailed to you.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @JPFamilyLaw and using hashtags  #FLRedBook 

What’s new for 2018

  • The latest amendments to the FPR, including:
    • the updated PD3A (Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMS));
    • the new Pt 3A (Vulnerable Persons: Participation in Proceedings and Giving Evidence) and PD3AA; and
    • the revised PD12J (Child Arrangements and Contact Order: Domestic Abuse and Harm).
  • The latest updates to the CPR
  • Recent guidance on:
    • Standard Financial and Enforcement Orders; and
    • Judicial Cooperation with Serious Case Reviews.
  • The latest case-law, including:
    • Re H (A Child) (Surrogacy Breakdown) [2017] EWCA Civ 1798;
    • Yates and Anor v Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Foundation Trust and Anor [2017] EWCA Civ 410, [2017] 2 FLR 739; and
    • Sharp v Sharp [2017] EWCA Civ 408, [2017] 2 FLR 1095.
  • New and expanded commentary on:
    • applications for a financial remedy;
    • funding;
    • domestic abuse, taking account of the revised FPR PD12J;
    • procedure for miscellaneous applications;
    • the national roll-out of administratively de-linking financial proceedings from divorce;
    • standard draft orders and the associated new Practice Guidance;
    • new Forms A (notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial order), A1 (notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial remedy) and B (notice of an application to consider the financial position of the respondent);
    • vulnerable persons, including expanded notes on detention of a child or vulnerable adult;
    • storage of embryos;
    • foreign orders and significant delay, plus applications for permission to apply for a financial remedy after overseas proceedings;
    • parallel petitions for divorce;
    • adding or removing parties;
    • withholding inspection or disclosure of documents;
    • power of the court to control evidence;
    • the new Business and Property Courts; and
    • the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

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