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New Family Procedure Rules

The Family Procedure Rules (FPR) govern the family court system in England and Wales. From 29 April 2024, new rules designed to streamline court processes come into force.


These rules aim to strengthen the requirement in every case to try to resolve disputes away from court, non-court dispute resolution (NCDR).


Family court forms - c100, FormA, FM5

Fewer reasons not to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)


The new rules reduce the number of MIAM exemptions.


It is now required to provide evidence when an exemption is claimed, for example, the prospective applicant is not able to attend a MIAM online or by video-link, and an explanation of why this is the case must be provided to the court.


How will the courts deal with second parties who have declined to attend a MIAM?  What might the consequences be?  District Judge (DJ) Birk, a member of the Family Proceedings Rules Committee (FPRC) said “This will be considered on a case-by-case basis. There should be an investigation by the court as to why there hasn’t been attendance and whether it is appropriate. Lack of attendance won’t be allowed to delay proceedings.


Court Proceedings


Applicants must now explain their view on Non-Court Dispute Resolution (NCDR) as a means of resolving their issues in open correspondence, with a statement of truth. This form (known as an FM5) must be filed and served before the first “on notice” hearing and, if directed by the court, before any subsequent hearing in the proceedings. Graeme Fraser, a member of the FPRC has said “The FM5 is a detailed form, designed to make legal representatives and their clients think in detail why they should be in court.”


DJ Birk said, “these rules will mean the court will require an update from the parties and their representatives at every court hearing as to why NCDR has not been engaged, and the court will adjourn hearings for extended periods of time to allow for NCDR to take place.” 


The court may also now make an order requiring one party to pay the costs of another party for failure by a party, without good reason, to attend a MIAM.


Alternatives to Court Proceedings


The amended FPR introduces a broader definition of NCDR including various methods such as mediation, arbitration, evaluation by a neutral third party (such as a private dispute resolution process), and collaborative law.


It is part of the Family Mediation Council (FMC) Professional MIAM standards for a mediator to share information with a client at a MIAM about their options to resolve their issues and help them identify their next steps.


Please contact us to arrange a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), in which your mediator will provide more information about forms of NCDR and support you to make the decision about which process you wish to engage with.



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