President of the Family Division Sir James Munby has issued detailed guidance on the forthcoming Single Family Court system.
Due in April next year, this planned revision to the family justice system will see magistrates and judges hearing cases in the same court.
The guidance states that the new court will include High Court Judges, Circuit Judges, Recorders, District Judges and Magistrates. It will incorporate the functions of the current Family Proceedings Court, which will then be closed. Family cases currently heard within county courts will also be transferred to the new unified court.
The venue for most hearings will be the new ‘Designated Family Centre’. This will be presided over by the ‘Designated Family Judge’, with a centralised administration. There may also be additional ‘hearing centres’ where cases can be held.
The full guidance is available in the May issue of the journal Family Law.
Last month Sir James Munby said the single family court represented the “most radical reforms in a lifetime” for family justice.
The changes were “nothing short of revolutionary”, he claimed, pledging to increase transparency within the court system.