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Courts Act 2003

Family Procedure Rules and Directions

Section 75: Family Procedure Rules

186.This section establishes the Family Procedure Rule Committee. The FPRC will be the sole body with the authority to make rules regulating the practice and procedure for family proceedings in the High Court, county courts and magistrates’ courts and it replaces the existing rule making arrangements.

187.Currently, rules of court for family proceedings in the magistrates’ courts are made by the Lord Chancellor after consultation with the Magistrates’ Courts Rule Committee under section 144 of the MCA 1980. In relation to family proceedings in the High Court and county courts, rules are presently made by the Lord Chancellor and specified persons, under section 40(1) of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.

188.Subsection (3) defines family proceedings for which the FPRC can make rules. The FPRC can make different rules for a specific court or description of courts or for specific types of proceedings or jurisdiction. For example, rules can prescribe certain practices to be followed in the Principal Registry of the Family Division or in all county courts. Likewise, rules can prescribe the practice to be followed in all ancillary relief proceedings or how courts should exercise their Children Act 1989 jurisdiction.

189.Subsection (5) sets out guiding principles that the FPRC must follow when making rules, consistent with those that the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee and the Civil Procedure Rule Committee must follow.

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