Allocation and Transfer Guidance

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The Family Division Liaison Judge for the Midlands, Keehan J, has distributed the guidance below in respect of cases in the Family Court being allocated to a Judge of High Court level.



A case should be allocated or re-allocated to a judge of High Court level where:


(a)    in accordance with the President’s Guidance on Allocation, the case merits being heard by a judge of High Court level;

(b)    there may be a need to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court; or

(c)    other guidance requires a case to be heard by a judge of High Court level (eg radicalisation cases).


The order should make clear whether the matter is allocated (a) a judge of High Court level (ie including a CJ or recorder sitting s.9) or (b) to a full judge of the Family Division or to a named judge of the Division.



A case may only be transferred from the Family Court to the High Court by either (a) the PFD, (b) an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal or (c) a puisne judge (ie. a full High Court judge): FPR r.29.17(3)(a) & (4).


The only exception is that a CJ or recorder sitting s.9 may transfer a case to the High Court solely for the purposes of making a disclosure order under the inherent jurisdiction against a Government department: FPR r. 29.17(3)(b) & PD29C.


Accordingly, a decision to transfer a case in the Family Court  to the High Court, because the case ought to have been commenced there or because the court may need to make orders under the inherent jurisdiction, may only be made by the judges set out in r. 29.17(4).