McKenzie Friend advice for Litigants in Person (LiP)

COURT FORMS (England & Wales) - starting a Family Court Case

Applying to the Family Courts to sort-out a dispute about children following a divorce or separation is a Private Law application under Parts I & II of the Children Act 1989. It is best to think about the type of order you want before going to a form. There are only a few types of orders possible under the above Law Act.


Form C100 is used to apply for the following (numbered) orders, together with form C1A if a party wants to accuse the other of harm or abuse in a relationship. Replies to a C100 application are made on form C7. If your address is secret, use form C8. If you need additional orders during court proceedings use form C2, also used to ask for permission to leave or join an ongoing case. C100 applications can result in the following orders, whether asked for or not, (orders 1-3 are options on the application form):


1. A Child Arrangement Order also called a section 8 order, details with whom a child shall reside, and when, and when and where a person other than the person or people the child lives with, will see a child. 

2. A Specific Issue Order – an order on a specific issue disputed between those who have PR for a child. Examples might be where a child is schooled, or whether a child should be circumcised or not. 

3. A Prohibitive Steps Order – prevents a person from exercising their rights over a child they normally would have by virtue of their PR for that child. Often these are cruel to fathers, such as not to make contact with their child in person, by social media, or phone. 

4. Activity Directions/Conditions are orders attached to a section 8 order already in-force, or they can be a standalone order. They define an activity that must be carried out by a party as a condition for an existing child arrangement order to continue, or for a future order to be made. Examples of activities are: programmes, classes, or counselling sessions aimed at improving relationships with a child. They cannot include medical or psychiatric assessment or treatment. Nor can they insist someone attends mediation.

5. Change of Name and/or Removal from Jurisdiction Orders. A child subject to a section 8 order cannot have their name changed, by anyone, or be removed from the United Kingdom for more than one month, without the permission of a Family Court. This order allows either or both of these things to be done. 

6. Family Assistance Order. An order for a social worker to help family relationships, but only between those mentioned in the order. Such an order requires the agreement of all those named in the order, except the children, and agreement of a named Local Authority.

7. Monitoring Order. This is where a social worker is ordered to check on any party to a Child Arrangements Order, other than a child, to see if they are complying with the details in that order. Or, an order for a social worker to check on an individual’s compliance with an Activity Direction, or a condition attached to a Child Arrangements Order.

8. Barring Order. Often called ‘9114 orders,’ bar a person who has made several applications to court from making any more without first applying for permission in a separate court hearing. Baring orders are usually for the benefit of a respondent and can apply, for a particular person, to applications for any Private Family Law order or for only some types of orders. 


A Parental Responsibility (PR) Order. This bestows PR on a father, or someone else, if not obtained automatically through marriage or from being named on a child’s birth certificate. It can also remove PR, (but not for a father if PR was obtained through marriage). Court form C1 may be used if the order is contested, along with form FM1. If not contested, a couple can apply for PR by applying to a court on one of the forms C(PRA1), C(PRA2) or C(PRA3).


Enforcement Orders require a person, who has failed to comply with an order, to do unpaid community work. Before this type of order can be made an investigation is needed by Cafcass or the Welsh equivalent. Use form C79, but this only works if you are a  subject on an existing order and  have a warning notice attached to that order. You can apply for attachment of a warning notice using form C78.


Compensation for Financial Loss Order – can be made as a consequence of a C79 or C100 application where a person’s breach of a child arrangement order has led to another person making a financial loss. For example, if a parent refuses to send a child for a pre-arranged holiday.

Further Information

OTHER USEFUL FORMS INCLUDE


Form C4 - asking a court to order another party to tell you where your children are. 


Form EX160 –for exemption from court fees. 


Form FL403 to apply for an injunction, such as a non-molestation order, to be set aside. This is different from an appeal, which needs to be made on form N161. 


There are some helpful information leaflets, also called forms, such as: EX340 (how to appeal) and CB1 (general children matters).


Most of the forms on the official Court-form-website that are needed in court cases about child arrangements are under ‘Children Act Forms,’ not ‘Family Law Forms.’ 


WARNING NOTICE 

 
Any information on this website, or in any of our publications, is not the same as getting legal advice.  


From March 2019, a trial is being run of online applications to court as an optional service, but only in some areas. 


Many out-of-date websites offer downloadable copies of Family Court Forms. Since 2019, only forms downloaded from the official Court-Form website are valid.


When starting a journey it is a good idea to know where you’re going. Download templates of Orders to give you the correct wording to: i). draft an order in case of agreement being offered at court, & to have ready wording in case asked for by a Judge. ii). crystalize your thoughts on what you want & what a court can give you.  

 

In Scotland there are overlapping, and different, Family Laws with England & Wales, but completely different Court Rules , (see especially Chapter 33 of the Ordinary Cause Rules) and Scottish Court Forms. 


Go to the Offical Court-Form website (England & Wales)

How much will it cost?

Mark Lindsay MA (oxon) MBA Cert. Ed. MCIM Ilm business broker – A member of the Gig Economy (multiple jobs by the day), has been offering McKenzie Friend help in Childrens Law Family Court Cases for 13-years. He has a call-back service only. Send an email with times in the evening he can phone you back, to malindsay66@gmail.com . Mark says: 


“What most people ask me first is: how much will going to court cost?  Every case is different but  in general, a LiP who has most things agreed with their ex, is not accused of abuse, is willing to do all his own talking, and does not want to pay for help, needs to budget between £3-500 for court fees & miscellaneous items (not including the cost of time spent working on the case).


A LiP who is up-against a more difficult respondent and is using a McKenzie Friend – so is happy doing the talking in hearings – will need around £1,500 which will cover someone being there to help in three hearings, court fees, and some help with court paperwork.


A LiP who is facing a contested court-case that includes strong allegations of domestic abuse normally needs a mixed legal-team of a McKenzie Friend & a direct access barrister, and a budget of around £5-6,000.


An applicant who has a very complicated or serious case really needs to use a traditional solicitor and barrister (and about 50% of all applicants to the Family Courts use this sort of legal team), in which case budget between £20-50,000. 


A serious case may be where social services are talking about removing your children from home and you do not qualify for Legal Aid. Where you have related criminal conviction(s), or public law orders against you concerning the care of children, or have Family Court injunctions against you. Where there are allegations of sexual abuse of a child. Where there is an international element, such as an application to move permanently abroad, especially if there is a risk of abduction. Where you do not have PR for your children or child. When a party to your court case cannot be found, or is avoiding service. When the other party is so mentally unwell they are incapable of handling the case or any case that is in the Family Division of the High Courts."

Non-Legal Help & Support

"To find out more on different ways of economically building your legal-team you really need to read Chapter Two (Tooling Up) of the forthcoming book: How to Beat the Family Courts."  [Mark Lindsay, McKenzie Friend].


To avoid the cost of lawyers, apart from reading books on Family Court proceedures, you can consult with people who are not lawyers, but have specialised in this small part of the law - usually because they have personal experience of the injustice embedded in the UK Family Court Private-Law Child Arrangements system. 


These people may work for free, be fee-charging McKenzie Friends, be volunteers on telephone helplines, or be part of an estranged-parent, support group – often with most attendees being fathers and usually affiliated with a Father's Right's Organisation.  


Find out more

BUNDLES & DOCUMENTS for a Hearing

In 2012, 88% of all private law Family Court cases, for Child Arrangement Orders, had one or both parties represented by lawyers. In 2018, this figure dropped to 63%. However, Family Court Rules have not caught-up, and still require everyone to follow a complex set of requirements for copious amounts of paperwork, designed around the work of solicitors. Filling-in forms is merely the tip-of-the-iceberg. 


If you or the other party have a solicitor, things are a lot easier. The one who is supposed to prepare all paperwork for each court hearing, in a thing called a ‘Court Bundle’ (or file of papers), is the person who applies to the court (the applicant). If you have a solicitor, they will prepare a bundle for you, but if the other side has a solicitor and you do not, the other side’s lawyer (the respondent) will prepare the bundle and you just need to supply a wad of supplementary documents they leave-out (usually because they go against their client’s case). However, if you are in one of the 37% of cases where neither side has a lawyer, while you do not automatically have to produce a Court Bundle , its is advantageous to do so, and then you will need to follow Family Court Practice Directions (rules) on format and content. 


Yes – Courts are lenient when both parties are LiPs, but not so much. Statistics show that cases where both parties are LiPs are the slowest and take the longest to complete, mostly because the parties tend to turn-up with the wrong, or poorly prepared, paperwork and are sent away to do the hearing all over again.


The rules for preparing a Court Bundle are online and are mostly contained in Family Court Practice Direction 27A Generally, different types of documents are put in a particular order within predefined sections, and these sections are indexed, each section is given a letter, and within each section pages are numbered sequentially (but not across sections). There are even rules about such things as typeface, spacing and layout. Key phrases must appear in certain documents. 


Any hearing requires a minimum of three-copies of a bundle, and the court should have their copy four-days in advance (although this is not a hard cut-off unless specifically ordered by a court). Do not be surprised to be shown only the index of a proposed Court Bundle by an opposing lawyer, for you to comment on, and to get the final bundle on the day of the hearing – it’s all part of court-case politicking.


Manhandle Templates provide a skeleton outline, together with a few pointers on what to include. The hard part is the content, and for that you will need some advice. A good method is to start at the end – which means considering what a successful order for you would look like. Court orders are also built from templates. Filling in one will serve the dual purposes of: focusing your mind and writing, and giving you something to use should a mutual agreement be offered, or input for an order be asked for by a judge.

Bundle Templates

Manhandle Press offers templates of different Court Bundles for different types of hearings, preformatted using our best endeavours to follow court rules (but without a guarantee of being compliant). All payments go to the Doubtfire Fund. 


Court Bundles are available for the following grouping of hearings:


FHDRA (First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment) – The very first hearing. There will be very few documents, mostly copies of court forms and a Position Statement. 


Fact Finding Hearing – Witness Statements, Chronologies and special documents like a Scott Schedule are used. 


DRA (Dispute resolution Appointment)/Final Hearing – Most documents are in place for both of these hearings, including one or two reports from experts and Cafcass. 


Bundles for other Interim Hearings can contain almost any combination of documents and are best constructed by excluding documents from a DRA/Final Hearing template.


These templates contain blanks of key documents such as Position and Witness Statements.

Get a Court document template

Free downloads

Flow-chart of Family Court (Prvt law, CAP) process_ Engld & Wales (pdf)

Download

Engld & Wales Final Order template CAP_04 (pdf)

Download