What awaits family law in 2024?

What awaits family law in 2024?

The upcoming year holds the promise of concluding various legislative amendments and consultations by the UK government. Deliberate changes are poised to significantly influence family law and individuals navigating the personal ramifications of family legal matters. As we embark on this new year, let’s delve into the developments on the horizon and contemplate what lies ahead for family law in 2024.

Pilot Program for Financial Remedies Court Reporting

The spotlight on ‘transparency in the Family Court’ remains a key objective in 2024. Building on the measures introduced last year to enhance comprehension and scrutiny of the system, a fresh pilot scheme is scheduled to kick off on January 29th.

The upcoming Financial Remedies Court (FRC) reporting pilot is opening the door for accredited journalists and bloggers to shine a light on financial remedies proceedings. These proceedings span various financial matters, including those arising from divorce, civil partnership dissolution, and child support cases.

Initially, the FRC pilot will encompass three trial courts: the Central Family Court, Birmingham, and Leeds. It’s noteworthy that specific hearings, such as Financial Dispute Resolution, will maintain confidentiality to safeguard the privacy of those involved.

Proposed Amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill Impacting Parental Responsibility

January 2024 marks the progression of the Ministry of Justice’s proposed amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill. Originating from a 2022 proposal, this amendment is designed to automatically rescind parental responsibility for parents convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter against their co-parent.

This legislative change emerged following the tragic death of Jade Ward in 2021. Her partner, and the father of her child, was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison. Jade’s family has since advocated for a legal change to automatically strip parental responsibility, preventing convicted offenders from seeking information about their children or making crucial decisions about their lives

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed exemptions in cases involving domestic abuse.

Future Reforms in Financial Remedies

Setting the stage for transformation, in 2023, the Law Commission of England and Wales initiated a comprehensive exploration of financial remedy orders, seeking to redefine the landscape. This detailed scrutiny takes aim at the distribution of finances among couples post-divorce or civil partnership dissolution, a landscape currently overseen by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and Civil Partnership Act 2004.

The overarching goal is to evaluate the efficacy of current laws, ensuring equity for couples undergoing divorce. The comprehensive review delves into the discretionary powers of judges, contemplates broadened authorities for orders concerning individuals above eighteen, meticulously examines pension-related orders, and assesses the intricacies of post-divorce financial payments.

In September 2024, a scoping report is slated to unveil the long-awaited findings, creating the potential for substantial reforms in the upcoming financial remedies legislation.

Rise in Family Court Fees

In a recent move, the UK government finalized a consultation to potentially raise court fees by 10% in 2024. The Ministry for Justice is striving to enhance court revenue, ensuring sufficient resources and to ensure they remain adequately resourced, safeguarding access to justice for all.

Users of His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, including the family court, contribute to the justice process through fees. By increasing court fees by 10%, the UK government anticipates generating up to £42 million per year.

The primary objectives of this price increase are to keep pace with rising costs, enhance service delivery, subsidize the cost of free services, and reduce the overall burden on taxpayers.

Key increases in family court fees for 2024 include:

Application for a divorce or civil partnership dissolution: fees rising from £593 to £652

Application for a parental order: fees rising from £232 to £255

Application/permission to apply for adoption: fees rising from £183 to £201

Application for a financial order (other than consent order): fees rising from £275 to £303.

Resolving Family Matters Outside the Court

There will be an ongoing effort to motivate parties to settle disputes outside the legal system. A preceding consultation by the UK government, specifically on ‘Supporting earlier resolution of private family law arrangements,’ explored the intricacies of mediation within the realm of family law.

Consequently, 2024 could implement mandatory mediation for all appropriate low-level family court cases (excluding those with allegations or a history of domestic violence). The intention is to steer family disputes clear of overwhelmed courts, ensuring children are protected from the impacts of contentious and prolonged legal proceedings.

These proposals aspire to empower more individuals to make decisions and reach resolutions with the assistance of a qualified mediator, rather than leaving the decision in the hands of the family court.

Upcoming General Election

While the date of the next UK general election is yet to be announced, there is widespread anticipation that the current Conservative government will call for an election in 2024. Current voting intention polls suggest that Labour may emerge victorious, potentially resulting in a change in government.

Although no parties have released their election manifestos and the specifics of any proposed changes to family law remain unknown, some impact on family law can be expected.


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The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our offices. They give an insight into the latest updates in family law. Along with pieces from our family law legal team, guest contributors also regularly share their knowledge. Sign up below for the monthly legal newsletter, which provides you with everything you need to know in one place.

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