Family Law Hub

Law Commission completes enforcement of family financial orders project

Recommendations for reforms published.

  • The Law Commission has published its recommendations for streamlining enforcement of family financial orders, completing a project started in 2014.

    The recommendations were made with four key problems with the current law in mind:

    • the complexity of the rules
    • a lack of information about the debtor
    • some of the debtor's assets being beyond existing enforcement powers
    • a lack of means to apply pressure to debtors who can but will not pay

    To achieve these aims the Commission has recommended that:

    • the procedural rules should be consolidated as they can be hard to find and difficult to follow. This should be allied with with more guidance and information for litigants.
    • the obligations on the debtor to provide honest and early disclosure of their financial circumstances should be onerous.
    • the court should have wider powers to obtain information from third parties.
    • existing methods of enforcement should be extended to assets that currently cannot be enforced against, for example,funds held in a joint account and against pension assets.
    • courts should be able to apply pressure to debtors that have the means to pay but are refusing to pay by, for example, disqualifying them from driving or preventing travel out of the country until the judgment debt is settled
    • improvements to the law of enforcing family financial orders should be introduced. For example, changes to how enforcement cases are allocated, an increase to the period of time to enforce arrears before the court's permission is required and the introduction of a new power for courts to remit arrears.
    • introducing a new and more efficient procedure for the general enforcement application. 

    The Commission also notes that many of the recommendations that do not require Acts of Parliament and can be implemented by changes to the Family Procedure Rules, including the introduction of an Enforcement Practice Direction, and by the provision of guidance for litigants and the public.

    The full background and detail on the proposals can be found on the Law Commission website here.

News, published: 16/12/2016


Published: 16/12/2016


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