On behalf of the Lord Chancellor, Lord Bellamy KC (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice) has confirmed his approval of amendments to existing Practice Directions supplementing the Family Procedure Rules 2010, made by the President of the Family Division under powers delegated to him by the Lord Chief Justice. Full details of these amendments can be found here in the Practice Direction Update Document.
The Practice Direction (PD) Update No. 9 of 2022 makes amendments as detailed below:
- Amendments to PD5A: From 16 January 2023, Form E, rather than the current Form E2, should be completed on applications to capitalise a periodical payment order. PD5A, which lists standard Forms, is amended accordingly.
- Amendments to PD36G: this pilot PD underpins the online system for generating online an application for an order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989. The Update extends the end date of the pilot PD from 31 December 2022 until 31 October 2023.
This Update also amends PD36G to reflect an operational change which means that from 16 January 2023 it will be possible to upload to the online system a certificate relating to compliance with the requirement to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.
1. Amendments to PD36N: This PD underpins HMCTS’s pilot online scheme for contested financial remedy applications. The Update amends PD36N in various ways:
(i) to bring Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 applications (for financial provision for a child) within scope from 16 December 2022;
(ii) to reflect the operational reality as to when applications to set aside a financial remedy order and applications for payments in respect of legal services may be made via the online system;
(iii) to reflect the operational reality as to how agreement to be served via the online system is given, and as to how service is effected for cases in the online system;
(iv) to extend the end date of the pilot scheme from 31 December 2022 to 31 December 2023; and
(v) to mandate use of the online system by legal representatives from 31 January 2023.
- Amendments to PD36ZD: this PD underpins the online system for applications under section 8 Children Act 1989, applications for permission for such orders, and applications for orders under Part 4 Family Law Act 1996 (non-molestation orders and occupation orders). When the online system first came into use it only extended to the application stage of proceedings, and was only available to legal representatives. The Update extends the pilot to 31 October 2023 and also underpins changes to the online system to test an end-to-end process from application to final order for both legal representatives and unrepresented parties. The amendments for the end to end process come into force on 16 January 2023. HMCTS will roll out the end to end process gradually across England and Wales and will communicate details about who may access the online system and from when.
- Amendments to PD41D: : this PD underpins the online system for public law and emergency proceedings relating to children. The Update amends PD41D to reflect the fact that registration by legal representatives on “MyHMCTS” will be taken as confirmation that the legal representative is willing to accept service by the court via emails containing links to where the document being served can be accessed on the online system. This amendment came into force on 13 December 2023.