Family Law Hub

Family Orders: House Rules

Issued by the President

  • 1. The prescribed body of standard orders shall take effect on the date fixed for opening for business of the Family Court.

    2. All orders made by the Family Court shall be in the standard forms for non-children and private children cases, as appended below. Specific variants will be devised and used for (among other cases), child abduction orders, forced marriage orders, public law orders, tipstaff orders, freezing and search orders, and Part IV FLA 1996 orders.

    3. Where the order is made in the High Court in respect of a reserved matter the standard forms shall be used also, save that the name of the court shall be changed to The High Court of Justice, Family Division, Principal (or [place] District) Registry.

    4. In a non-children case the order shall express the title of the case as

    a. The Marriage of XX and YY, or

    b. The Civil Partnership of XX and YY, or

    c. The Relationship of XX and YY, or

    d. The Family of XX and YY,

    5. An order shall state in its heading the statute(s), or European Regulation(s), or Protocol under which the powers in question are exercised. It shall not state that the inherent powers of the court are being exercised.

    6. Where a party was represented by an advocate, that advocate shall be named on the face of the order.

    7. The order shall not recite the documents which the court read, or the witnesses who were heard, save in a case where an order is made without notice, in which case the details shall be recorded in a recital.

    8. Where an order is made without notice the reason for withholding any notice must be recorded in a recital. Where an order is made on short notice the reason for withholding full notice must be recorded in a recital.

    9. Parties:

    a. The parties shall be specified in the first paragraph of the order.

    b. The applicant for the relief in question shall be referred to in the order as the "applicant"; and the respondent shall be referred to as the "respondent". The parties shall not be referred to by their titles in the main suit (i.e. petitioner and respondent) save in respect of orders made in the main suit.

    c. Children shall be referred to by their first forename and surname.

    d. The children's guardian shall be referred to as "the guardian".

    e. Other parties shall be referred to as first respondent, second respondent etc

    10. If a party acts by a litigation friend or a child by a children's guardian this must be stated in the first paragraph of the order.

    11. An order shall be consecutively numbered from 1 irrespective of whether the paragraph in question concerns a definition, recital, agreement, undertaking or order. Schedules, Annexes or Appendices should not be used unless their content is of very great length and would, if placed in the body of the order, disrupt its natural reading. An example would be an elaborate and very lengthy sequence of tax and other financial indemnities given in a financial remedy case.

    12. Subparagraphs, to two levels only, are permitted and shall be numbered (a),(b) etc, then (i), (ii) etc (with or without brackets).

    13. Every order shall begin with a definition paragraph of terms used in the order. Abbreviations may be used.

    14. Grammatical modality:

    a. The following grammatical modality shall be used for imperative verbs: "The respondent shall pay/transfer etc" 

    b. The following grammatical modality shall be used for prohibitory verbs: "The respondent must not remove/ transfer/molest etc".

    15. For the purposes of capitalisation the following style (consistent with the use in the FPR 2010) shall be used uniformly in respect of the judiciary, the courts, and legal representatives:

    High Court judge

    circuit judge

    district judge


    Court of Appeal

    High Court

    Family Court

    county court

    magistrates' court


    leading counsel








    16. An obligation to do an act as provided for in an order shall be taken to include causing the act to take place. Thus the phrase "or cause to be paid", shall not be included in an order.

    17. An obligation to do an act within a specified period shall state the actual date and time by which the act must be done.

    18. Dates shall be specified without ordinal possessives and must use the full name of the month and the year in full form e.g. 17 May 2013 and not 17th May 2013 or 17/5/13 or May 17th, 2013 or "this 17th day of May 2013". Times must be stated using the 24 hour format e.g, 17:00 or 12:00, not 5pm or noon.

    19. Distances should be specified metrically up to 1,000 metres. Beyond that distance either system, statute or metric, may be used.

    20. Monetary sums shall be denoted numerically, save that for sums expressed in millions the abbreviation "m" may be used. Other variants e.g. "M" or "millions" should not be used. Currencies shall be expressed by the usual symbols. Thus, for example, £, €, US$ and A$ should be used, not GBP, EUR, USD and AUD.

    21. The body of orders should always be prepared in Times New Roman Font, 12 point, with single spacing. Justification should be used.

    22. Although not grammatically pure the plural pronoun "their" should be used in a singular sense instead of "his or hers".

    23. Clear English (or Welsh in the Principality) should be used at all times. Archaic legal language ("the party of the first part", "hereinabove", "heretofore" etc) should be avoided. 

Practice note, published: 22/04/2013


Items referring to this

Published: 22/04/2013


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