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Thu 31 Mar 2011

Major Changes to Family Law: New rules to come into effect from 6th April 2011

Major Changes to Family Law: New rules to come into effect from 6th April 2011




From 6 April 2011 new rules will come into effect which will govern how family law cases are dealt with in the Courts. 

The aim of the rules is to simplify all the procedures applicable to family proceedings in the High Court, County Court and Magistrates Court and to replace the existing rules with one set. These rules seek to follow the structure applicable to all civil litigation cases under what are known as the Civil Procedure Rules. In both there is an overriding objective to resolve disputes justly. In the family field that has to be by reference to any welfare issues. Parties to any family proceedings will need to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution at every stage in the proceedings. There will also be a compulsory mediation and information assessment meeting before any Court application is permitted. The Court also has wider powers for case management to intervene in the conduct of proceedings at each and every stage.

There will always be cases where a person is not expected to attend a mediation meeting. There will remain cases unsuitable for mediation, such as those involving domestic abuse. However, mediation will be promoted generally because it is more cost effective, quicker than going to Court and a flexible process to settle a number of disputes. The process can reduce tension, anger and misunderstanding between disputing parties and mediation is available whether or not parties have seen a solicitor to start proceedings.

Once mediation has run its course and as much progress has been made as is reasonably possible then it is appropriate in many cases for the individual to seek independent legal advice. That is precisely the point we can be contacted to progress matters through the Courts, confirming to the Court as required that the mediation process has been followed (or if applicable the reasons why no attendance took place).

For further assistance please contact Keith Maynard:

t: 020 7644 7278

f: 020 7625 7309



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