The Magistrate's Court (Family) deals with both public and private law proceedings concerning the welfare of the child(ren). Private law proceedings are applications made by private individuals, such as parents and grand parents, and may include applications regarding who a child should live with following the breakdown of a relationship, the payment of maintenance for the child or who the child should see and how often. Public law proceedings are where the Crown takes action to protect a child that they believe may be at risk of serious harm.

When trying to resolve questions about the welfare of the child(ren), going to court should always be the last resort. There are many other ways of reaching an agreement on what should happen to the children of the family and the court will try to help parents to agree a positive, joint approach to looking after their children. However, it is always best if parents can reach their own agreements rather than the court having to decide on their behalf.

What the court may order will depend on the details of each case, which are different for each family and each child. The court will always put the child(ren)'s best interests first and do what it considers is best for them, even if this is not what the parents’ want.

The Children Ordinance 2014 determines the types of orders that the court can make. Below is a list of some of the more common applications before the family court. These include:

In private law

  • Contact Order (who the child sees and how often)
  • Residence Order (who the child lives with)
  • Specific Issue Order (order to resolve any specific issue relating to the child)
  • Parental Responsibility Order (awards all the rights and responsibilities of being a parent to the applicant)
  • Financial relief in relation to the child (payment of lump sum or regular payments in relation to the child)
  • Prohibited Steps Order (prevents someone from taking a certain action in relation to the child, such as taking them out of the country)
  • Adoption

In public law

  • Care order (places the child in the care of the Crown)
  • Supervision order (places the child under the supervision of the Crown)
  • Adoption
  • Emergency Protection Order (uses emergency powers to remove the child to the care of the Crown due to the significant risk of harm)

The Magistrate's Court has unlimited jurisdiction to deal with all matters relating to the welfare of the child. In the Summary Court the family court is known as the Family Proceedings Court (FPC) and holds similar jurisdiction to the Magistrate's Court, in that it can deal with all questions relating to both public and private law proceedings. The FPC comprises of specially trained Justices of the Peace who deal with family cases.

Despite the Summary Court holding the equivalent jurisdiction, family cases are usually listed before the Senior Magistrate due to their complex nature and the time that such cases may take to be resolved.

The practice and procedure in the Magistrate's Court (Family) is governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 . Where an adoption is applied for in the Magistrate's Court the Adoption Rules 1984 (as amended) apply.

The following forms are to be used if you wish to make an application to the Magistrate's Court for an order. All forms are available in hard copy from the court office.

Please note - Court staff cannot assist you in determining what type of application you need to make; they can only provide you with advice on procedure. If you are unsure about the application you ought to make then you are advised to seek independent legal advice. You may be eligible for assistance under the Legal Aid Scheme.

Application for a Care or Supervision Order
Created: Friday, 11 September 2020 13:23 | Size: 302.83 KB

C1 Application For An Order
Created: Friday, 11 September 2020 13:18 | Size: 181.62 KB

C10A Statement of Means (family proceedings)
Created: Friday, 11 September 2020 13:20 | Size: 165.63 KB

C11 Supplemental for Application for EPO
Created: Friday, 11 September 2020 13:24 | Size: 120.5 KB

C13 Supplemental for Application for Care or Supervision Order
Created: Friday, 11 September 2020 13:25 | Size: 142.47 KB

C2 Application
Created: Friday, 11 September 2020 13:21 | Size: 157.86 KB

C100 - Section 12 Order
Created: Monday, 26 October 2020 08:00 | Size: 1.44 MB

C1A Supplemental Information - Allegations of Harm & Domestic Violence
Created: Monday, 26 October 2020 07:59 | Size: 1.27 MB


Practice Direction

Practice Direction - Safeguarding
Created: Thursday, 20 January 2022 16:01 | Size: 770.3 KB