A new protocol issued by the the Designated Family Judges in London and the South East, offers guidance on how to process domestic abuse applications being made outside the applicant’s area.
A good summary of the key points in the protocol, produced by Lexis Nexis, is added below:
• an applicant for an urgent order under the Family Law Act 1996 (FLA 1996) is entitled to go to any court, ie the first available judge of the family court
• an applicant for an order under the FLA 1996 and the Children Act 1989 may be living in an area unknown to the respondent and may wish to apply in a court in a different area to maintain that confidentiality
• the courts in the South East and London will assist any applicant with good reason to apply in their court of choice and will not encourage or direct that the applications should be issued in or transferred to the local court
• where confidentiality is claimed by an applicant, before the application is issued, the court shall confirm with the applicant their choice of court and note the file to avoid any unnecessary transfers to any other courts
• where confidentiality is claimed by any party, the court will not transfer the case to another court without first receiving a formal application for transfer (Form C2) which has been served on all of the relevant parties