Our articles are written by experts in their field and include barristers, solicitors, judges, mediators, academics and professionals from a range of related disciplines. Family Law provides a platform for debate for all the important topics, from divorce and care proceedings to transparency and access to justice. If you would like to contribute please email editor@familylaw.co.uk.
A day in the life Of...
Read on

PSL Essential Update - Family Procedure Rules Amendments April 2016

Date:6 APR 2016

In a nutshell:

Changes have been made to the Family Procedure Rules to create a new Part 39, regarding attachment of earning orders, and a new Part 40 relating to charging orders, stop orders and stop notices. There is a new PD 40A to compliment Part 40. There have also been some other minor changes to strike out applications, the Child Arrangements Programme and forms in PD 5A.


In force from 6 April 2016.

The statutes and statutory instruments that make the changes:

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2016, SI 2016/355
Practice Direction Amendments

Summary of the changes:

It is a mixed bag of changes so it's a good idea to look through the SI and amendment document in full, but the main points are as follows:

Within the Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2016, SI 2016/355:
  • Rule 3 amends Rule 4.4 of the FPR to clarify that written evidence must be taken into account if the court is considering striking out a statement of case. Practice Direction 4A - Striking out a statement of case - has also been updated with the insertion of paragraph 1.1A, which clarifies that before exercising its powers the court must take into account any written evidence filed in relation to the application or answer, for example, the financial statement (Form E) filed regarding an application for a property adjustment order, pension sharing order and other financial orders.
  • Rule 8 inserts two new parts for the FPR contained in Schedules 1 and 2. The new Parts 39 and 40 set out the procedure to be followed in respect of applications for attachment of earnings orders, charging orders, stop orders and stop notices.
  • Part 39 relates to attachment of earnings which applies where an attachment of earnings order is sought in the family court or High Court to secure payments under a maintenance order, whether or not arrears have been accrued. It sets out provisions for the steps to be taken when applying for an attachment of earnings order in the family court (Chapter 2) and in the High Court (Chapter 3).
  • Part 40 contains rules providing for a creditor to enforce a judgment or order by obtaining a charging order (Chapter 2), a stop order (Chapter 3), or a stop notice (Chapter 4) over or against the debtor's interest in an asset.
  • Practice Direction 40A supplements the new Part 40 and sets out the information required to apply for a charging order in Forms N379 or N380 (depending on whether the application concerns land or securities). It also contains a sample form of stop notice which is annexed to the Practice Direction.
There are the usual further amendments to the FPR which are consequential upon the introduction of the new Parts 39 and 40 of the FPR.

  • Rule 7 amends an out-of-date cross-reference in the FPR.
  • Rule 9 makes transitional provisions: as the changes came into effect on 6 April 2016, in any proceedings commenced but not disposed of before the changes, the court can give directions to apply any provision in rules of court which applied to the proceedings before 6 April 2016; or disapply provisions of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 as amended by these Rules as it sees fit.

The Family Procedure Rules committee has also released a Practice Direction Amendments documents introducing other amends to the FPR and the new PD 40A (as mentioned above):

  • PD 2A (which sets out the functions of the court) has been altered to take into account the new Parts 39 and 40, and PD 40A.
  • Some forms have been amended in PD 5A - Forms. In relation to Part 33, Forms N56, N336, N337, N379 and N380 have been omitted. After Part 37 there has been an insertion for Part 39 with Forms N56, N336, N337 and also for Part 40 Forms N379 and N380.
  • The Child Arrangements Programme Practice Direction 12B now includes a draft of a parenting plan after paragraph 2.7(2) by CAFCASS Cymru, which can be accessed either here or here.

To do:

Have a look over in particular the new Parts and Practice Direction, especially as the latter contains the sample stop notice.

Keep an eye on our website and Twitter for regular updates on all developments. In particular, in January the President said he had approved amendments to PD 12B, removing the requirement for certain information to be included on the face of orders - there has been no sign of these changes in this round of amendments to the FPR, and so the status of the recently revised private law orders is still not entirely clear. We expect to hear more on this in the near future, and will endeavour to keep you updated.