Family Proceedings Court

What is the Family Proceedings Court?

The term 'family proceedings' covers a large area of work which concentrates on two primary areas;

1) children; and

2) marriages & civil partnerships.

The focus of this area is proceedings which relate to children.  For more information about marriages & civil partnerships please click here.  Proceedings which relate to children are always heard in closed court.  This means that members of the public are not permitted to be in the court room and only those who are part of the case may be in the court room.  If you wish to have support of friends or family, permission must be sought from the court in advance.  Proceedings which relate to children are also confidential.  This means that the name(s) of the child(ren) involved in the case, and other adults involved, are not be disclosed in public without the permission of the court.    

What are proceedings which relate to children?

Proceedings which relate to children are applications to the court for an order which directly affect the life of a child.  For example, it may be:

  • An order about where they live;
  • An order about who they see and when;
  • An order to secure financial support;
  • An order about who has parental responsibility for them; or
  • An order about who is responsible for their care; or
  • An order about which school they go to.

At the heart of every decision made by the court will be the welfare of the child.

Proceedings which relate to children are divided into two types; private proceedings and public proceedings.

What the court might decide

The court will only make an order if it think that would be best for the child.  Sometimes a court may decide that it would be best not to make any order.

The court might:

  • Make an order
  • Change an order (called ‘varying’ the order); or
  • End an order (called ‘discharging’ the order

Private Proceedings

Private proceedings are between individuals, for example the parents of the child.  They will usually be for one or more of the following types of order;

  • Residence
  • Contact
  • Financial Relief
  • Specific Issues Order (this may be order to allow a separated parent to take the child on holiday, or may be about which school the child attends, or some other matter that requires the court to make a decision on if the parents are unable to reach one)
  • Prohibited Steps Order (this is an order to prevent a specific event, for example taking a child on holiday)
  • Parental Responsibility
  • Special Guardianship Order
  • Adoption

Public Proceedings

The phrase ‘public proceedings’ does not mean that the case is in public; it refers to the fact that these proceedings will be commenced by the Crown (Falkland Islands Government – a public office). These proceedings will usually be an application for a care or supervision order but may also cover any other matters which the Crown considers are in the best interests of the children.  A family will know if court proceedings are being considered and will have had interactions with a social worker beforehand.  It is only in extreme circumstances that an application for an Emergency Protection Order (‘EPO’) will be presented to the court.  For further information about familial work with social services please click here.

Do I need a Lawyer?

The court is only able to offer you procedural advice, this means it can advise you on things such as:

* which forms to complete;

* what happens in the hearing and who speaks when;

* what phrases in court mean (such as 'position statement');

* who to send documents to and when they need to be sent

What the court cannot help you with is:

* should I make an application?

* what should I put in my position statement?

* should I agree to that proposal?

If you are worried about the cost of a lawyer, you may be eligible for legal aid

Alternatively, if you are sure you do not want legal representation but feel you would like support attending court, you may bring a Mckenzie Friend with you.  For more information about Mckenzie friends please read the below document.


Mckenzie Friend Practice Guidance
Created: Tuesday, 15 March 2022 14:47 | Changed: | Size: 68.89 KB