New Judicial Protocol for cross-border children’s cases

Lord Carloway, head of the Scottish judiciary and Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division in England & Wales, have agreed a new judicial protocol which will provide for the direct exchange of information between judges in intra-UK cross-border cases involving children.

The protocol will operate in cases in which the courts in Scotland, and England and Wales, are involved.   

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. 

The protocol is intended to ensure that cases with a cross-border dimension are dealt with promptly and efficiently. 

The protocol, which was signed today by Lord Carloway and Sir James Munby, will take effect immediately.  

Lord Carloway said: “This is a valuable initiative which will help to ensure that cross-border cases involving children are dealt with effectively and without delay. 

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.    

Judicial protocol

Handbook 

Notes to editors

This judicial protocol formalises arrangements which have been in place for some time between the senior family law judges in the Court of Session, and in the Royal Courts of Justice. 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 was drafted by a group of senior family law judges, from Scotland and England & Wales. The handbook, with chapters provided by Scottish and English QCs, will provide a helpful starting point for a judge dealing with a cross-border case.  

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