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What are the different types of courts for my divorce?

There are several courts established in English legal system to deal with Family disputes and divorce matters.

Magistrates Court has jurisdiction to decide petty criminal offences and also family law cases (was also known as “Family Proceedings Court”) till April 2014 when Family Court system came into existence.

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County Court

Prior to 2014, apart from resolving civil law mattes County Court also adjudicated most of the family law matters.


Family Court

As there has been phenomenal increase in the volume of cases, there was significant delay in disposal of matters the government decided to establish new combined Family Court in April 2014. This change in system was very important and started speeding up of case disposal of family matters, more particularly matters involving children. More intricate family cases are heard by the Family Division of the High Court. The Family Court consists of Judges and Lay Justices (also known as Magistrates, Magistrates also look into County Court matters). The Family Court works on its own rules, procedures and guidelines.


The Crown Court 

The Crown Court hears serious criminal offences and Judge and Jury adjudicate upon these criminal matters. Crown court does not handle family law issues or allow filing of such cases. However, child abuse matters are dealt in at this court.


The High Court

In English legal system, High Court has jurisdictions to try all sort of cases. The High Court is has following separate divisions:

  1. Family Division
  2. Queen’s Bench Division; and
  3. Chancery Division.

A High Court is superior court and has more powers than a Judge or Lay Justices. An order of the High Court Judge precedes over Judge or Lay Justices of Family Court in family matters or County Court.


The Court of Appeal

Appeals on decisions of the Family Court can be brought before Court of Appeal.


The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest appellate authority in England & Wales. The Supreme Court has absolute jurisdiction to take up appeals from the Court of Appeal. In 2009, the Supreme Court substituted the House of Lords Appellate Committee. The House of Lords Appellate was not separate from Parliament, whereas Supreme Court is.

Family disputes that are brought before the Family Division of the High Court or an Appeal Court are best represented by a expert lawyer.

For more information on this subject please visit our Legal Library.


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06th October 2016

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