The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2018 are due to be implemented from 4th June 2018, the Rules are an amendment to The Family Procedure Rules 2010 currently enforce which will now be referred to as the standard procedure.
The amendments to the current rules are primarily concerning a new ‘Fast Track’ procedure for financial remedy proceedings.
The former District Judge Stephen Gold has stated that “the aim is to get the application determined at the first hearing which to take place six to ten weeks from issue as against 12 to 16 weeks for the standard track”. This is a clear improvement however, it is important to await the commencement of the fast track procedure to determine whether this procedure will perform as anticipated.
Contact us if you are currently in the process of making a financial remedy application and require further advice and guidance on the best type of financial remedy to apply for in accordance with your circumstances.
The amendments indicate that applications for a certain financial remedy could be eligible for the fast track procedure, this is outlined in Rule 5 which enforces an amendment by creating a new rule as 9.9B into the current 2010 rules. In brief, the following cases will be eligible to make an application under the fast track procedure:
- An application to alter a maintenance order however, this is not possible if the applicant wants to change the order into a Lump Sum Order. A maintenance order is an order requiring one party with a higher income to make payments to the other in order to assist with daily expenses. Generally, a maintenance order can be set for a specific amount of time or alternatively, until one party dies, remarries or if a further order is made.
- An application where the only remedy requested is a periodical payment order which is essentially a maintenance order. However, there are two types of periodical payments commonly referred to as Child Periodical Payments or Spousal Periodical Payments. A Child Periodical Payment is usually made by the parent not responsible for the daily care of a child and with whom the child does not reside.
- Where an application requires a foreign maintenance order to be enforced and implemented.
It is vital to note that even in cases where the application is eligible for the fast track procedure, the courts may still state that the application must be processed through the standard procedure especially, in cases where one party has requested to proceed through the standard procedure.
It should also be noted that the parties to the proceeding are now provided with 21 days rather than 14 days from the date the application was submitted to provide each other with financial statements.
Further to the above, the amendment to rule 9.20 of The Family Procedure Rules 2010 states that the court can now decide on an application at the first hearing unless there is a good reason for not doing so. The rule further states that the court can utilise the first hearing as a Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) appointment.
The new amendments due to be enforced on 4th June 2018 will not make significant changes to other issues covered by the current rules; the most important outcome of the amendment is the creation of a fast track procedure.
Contact us if you feel that you may be eligible to apply for a financial remedy order under the fast track procedure. We will assess your matter in detail and advise you on the best options available to you.