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The Family Procedure Rules 2010

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Proceedings in the absence of a party

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27.4.  (1)  Proceedings or any part of them shall take place in the absence of any party, including a party who is a child, if—

(a)the court considers it in the interests of the party, having regard to the matters to be discussed or the evidence likely to be given; and

(b)the party is represented by a children’s guardian or solicitor,

and when considering the interests of a child under sub-paragraph (a) the court shall give the children’s guardian, the solicitor for the child and, if of sufficient understanding and the court thinks it appropriate, the child, an opportunity to make representations.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), where at the time and place appointed for a hearing or directions appointment the applicant appears but one or more of the respondents do not, the court may proceed with the hearing or appointment.

(3) The court shall not begin to hear an application in the absence of a respondent unless—

(a)it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that the respondent received reasonable notice of the date of the hearing; or

(b)the court is satisfied that the circumstances of the case justify proceeding with the hearing.

(4) Where, at the time and place appointed for a hearing or directions appointment, one or more of the respondents appear but the applicant does not, the court may refuse the application or, if sufficient evidence has previously been received, proceed in the absence of the applicant.

(5) Where, at the time and place appointed for a hearing or directions appointment, neither the applicant nor any respondent appears, the court may refuse the application.

(6) Paragraphs (2) to (5) do not apply to a hearing to which paragraphs (5) to (8) of rule 12.14 do not apply by virtue of paragraph (9) of that rule.

(7) Nothing in this rule affects any provision of a European regulation or international convention by which the United Kingdom is bound which requires a court to stay proceedings where a respondent in another State has not been adequately served with proceedings in accordance with the requirements of that regulation or convention.

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