2024 Updates to Family Procedure Rules

2024 Updates to Family Procedure Rules
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi Updated: In: Family

Upcoming Changes to Family Procedure Rules

The Family Procedure Rules were created in 2010 and set out the conduct of any family court proceedings. Since the rules were introduced 24 years ago, they have seen many amendments, updating them in line with modern sentiments.

The latest amendment to the Family Procedure Rules (Amendment No.2) Rules 2023 (SI 2023/1324) was laid before Parliament last December 2023. The update partially comes into force on 8th April 2024 and partly on 29th April 2024. The upcoming update aims to strengthen the powers the court has to “stay” (pause) court proceedings in an effort to give parties the opportunity to engage in non-court dispute resolution (NCDR).

Additionally, all court cases brought under the Family Procedure Rules requires the court to actively manage the case. Part of this management is to encourage the parties to use NCDR. With the new amendment set to pass, parties to a court case will be required to go a step further by filling a statement with the court at the outset of their case informing the court of their views regarding the use of NCDR as a means to resolving the issues they have raise in the proceedings.

Updates to the Definition of NCDR

Furthermore, the definition of NCDR is being expanded to mean: “methods of resolving a dispute other than through the court process, including but not limited to mediation, arbitration, evaluation by neutral third party (such as a private Financial Dispute Resolution process) and collaborative law.”

New Court Powers to Adjourn Proceedings

On introduction of the second round of provisions on 29th April 2024, the court will gain powers to adjourn proceedings where timetabling of proceedings allows sufficient time for NCDR to be explored and carried out by the parties at the court. Importantly, the new rules state this can be done without needing both parties’ agreement.

Potential Cost Impact to Parties Who Do Not Engage in NCDR

Furthermore, in the case of financial remedies cases, this power to ‘encourage’ will be backed with further amendments to the rules. These expressly make a failure to engage in NCDR without a good reason a cost impact on the parties. Cost orders can be made against one or both parties where NCDR is not properly considered or engaged with.

Get in Touch with Cartwright King’s Family Law Solicitors

It is hoped that these updates to Family Procedure Rules will encourage judges, practitioners, and parties to prioritise NCDR routes. This way, we can keep disputes away from the courts where appropriate.

At Cartwright King our family law solicitors will always advocate for NCDR solutions where appropriate, actively striving to keep family matters out of the court system. Our solicitors will help explain all NCDR routes available before a court application is made.

To learn more about the NCDR options for our solicitors offer, get in touch with our family law solicitors.

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All advice is correct at time of publication.