Consultation 23.08

23.08 The Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008

Ministry of Justice laid the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008 (the Order) before Parliament on 3rd November 2008 and the Order is scheduled to come into force on 25 November 2008. The Order governs allocation and transfer of proceedings between courts in the family jurisdiction namely the High Court, the county courts, and the magistrates’ Family Proceedings Courts (FPCs).

The Order will be supplemented by the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Practice Direction issued by the President of the Family Division.

The Order and the Practice Direction (PD) are designed to produce a more efficient and effective business allocation system in the family justice system, in particular to ensure that all appropriate cases are dealt with in the FPC, rebalancing the work between the FPCs and county courts.

The intention of the Order is to reduce delays by using family resources to best effect, allocating cases to the correct tier in accordance with the complexity of issues at the time in that case. If a case, having been transferred suddenly becomes more or less complex, it can be re-transferred.

For cases issued on or after 25 November, the Order replaces the existing Children (Allocation of Proceedings) Order 1991, the Family Law Act 1996 (Part IV) (Allocation of Proceedings) Order 1997 and the Children (Allocation of Proceedings) (Appeals) Order 1991. The PD replaces the Practice Direction (Family Division: Distribution of Business) of 5 June 1992 and the Practice Direction (Children Act 1989: Applications by Children) of 22 February 1993.

Subject to judicial discretion, the Order and PD may however be applied to proceedings started before but not concluded by 25 November 2008 if practicable. Either the new Order and PD, or the existing orders and PDs could apply for cases issued before 25 November and not concluded by 25 November.

It will be essential therefore, for practitioners to retain both sets of Orders/PDs until all existing cases have been concluded.

The Order can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website:

The Practice Direction can be found on the Judicial Intranet at: