Lord Wolfson QC (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 in the Practice Direction Update Document here.

The Practice Direction Update Document amends various Practice Directions and inserts one new Pilot Practice Direction as detailed below:

a.       Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act (DDSA 2020) consequential amendments:

                                           i.     Practice Direction 2C – amended terminology to Practice Direction 2C which are consequential to the introduction of the new Part 7 of the Rules.

                                          ii.     Practice Direction 5A – updated amendments to Practice Direction 5A in reference to amended/new application forms as part of the work to implement the DDSA.

                                         iii.     Practice Direction 6A – amendments to Practice Direction 6A to provide further information on email service to support the amended Part 6 of the Rules.

                                         iv.     Practice Direction 7A – amendments to Practice Direction 7A to provide more information to support Part 7 of the Rules.  

                                          v.     Practice Direction 2A, 6C, 7B, 7C and 9A – updated terminology amendments.

b.         Practice Direction 36M. This Practice Direction underpins HMCTS’s system to enable family public law applications (for example for care orders) to be made and progressed online. This Update amends PD36M to mandate use by Local Authorities in the remaining family court locations (of which there are two) from 28 February 2022, as agreed by the senior judiciary. It also extends the pilot until 31 October 2022.

c.         Practice Direction 36V. This pilot Practice Direction modifies existing rules and Practice Directions to reflect the existence of the mediation voucher scheme and amends the pilot expiration date to 30 September 2022.

d.         Practice Direction 36W. This pilot Practice Direction makes provision for email notifications of forced marriage protection orders and female genital mutilation protection orders to be sent by the court to a centralised police email address once the order has been sealed. The Update will extend PD36W until 1 October 2022.

e.         Practice Direction 36Z. This Practice Direction provides the legal underpinning for the Private Law Reform Investigative Approach Pilots. This update amends a few minor errors and omissions from the pilot Practice Direction introduced in PD Update No. 1 of 2022.

f.          New Pilot Practice Direction 36ZA.  This Pilot Practice Direction underpins a pilot that has been established with the North Yorkshire police to test an improved process for notification of non-molestation orders and occupation orders with powers of arrest attached.