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Ally Tow
Ally Tow
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New judicial protocol for children’s cases in Scotland, and England and Wales
Date:24 JUL 2018
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Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division in England & Wales, and Lord Carloway, head of the Scottish judiciary, have agreed a new judicial protocol regulating direct judicial communications between Scotland, and England and Wales, in children’s cases.

The protocol provides for the direct exchange of information between judges in intra-UK cross-border cases involving children. It will allow for the prompt exchange of key information about any existing proceedings, and the legal options available to the court in each jurisdiction.
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This judicial protocol formalises arrangements which have been in place for some time between the senior family law judges in the Royal Courts of Justice and in the Court of Session in Scotland. Under the protocol, a judge dealing with a cross-border case will be able to make a request for information to the designated liaison judge in his own jurisdiction, who in turn can seek information from his opposite number. Judges should be able to establish what is happening in the alternative jurisdiction – for example whether proceedings have been raised, what orders have been granted, and what remedies are available.

The protocol is the result of a series of meetings that took place between members of the Scottish and English judiciaries over 2017-2018. It takes effect immediately.

A supplementary handbook has also been published, with contributions by Scottish and English QCs, to provide judges with a short summary of the law relating to children in Scotland, England and Wales.

Sir James said:

‘At a time when child proceedings increasingly involve a cross-border element, this protocol will facilitate cross-border judicial co-operation, thereby assisting the prompt and efficient progress of cases.’