Notes to Accompany
The Family Procedure (Adoption) Rules 2005 are the first family rules to be made under the rule-making powers contained in sections 75 and 76 of the Courts Act 2003 and to apply to three levels of court – the High Court, county court and magistrates' court. The 2003 Act established the Family Procedure Rule Committee as the sole body with the authority to make rules regulating the practice and procedure for family proceedings in the High Court, county courts and magistrates' courts.
At present the rule-making powers in the 2003 Act have been brought into force for adoption purposes only.
The Committee has exercised its power to make these rules with a view to securing that the rules are both simple and simply expressed. Before making the Rules the Committee has consulted as it thinks appropriate.
The Family Procedure (Adoption) Rules 2005
The Family Procedure (Adoption) Rules give effect to the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and come into force on the 30th December 2005.
The Rules are arranged in 19 Parts, supplemented by 22 Practice Directions.
Part 1 of the Rules contains a new overriding objective of enabling the court to deal with cases justly, having regard to the welfare issues involved. Part 2 makes provision for the interpretation of words and phrases and for the application of other rules. Many of the Rules have been modelled on the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 and two sections of the CPR (costs and enforcement) have been applied to the Rules. The Rules of the Supreme Court and the County Court Rules, which for most purposes have been revoked, will no longer apply to adoption proceedings in the High Court and county courts. Part 3 sets out the court's general case management powers.
Provisions relating to the different stages of proceedings commence at Part 4 (How to Start Proceedings). Part 5 sets out the procedure for applications in adoption, placement and related proceedings from identifying who the parties are (rule 23) to the final hearing (rule 32).
Parts 6 to 8 are devoted to specific aspects of proceedings: – Service (Part 6), Litigation Friends for non-subject children and patients, Children's Guardian, Reporting Officer and Children and Family Reporter (Part 7) and Documents, including provisions for the disclosure of documents and information (Part 8).
Part 9 prescribes the procedure to be followed when making applications within existing proceedings or in connection with concluded proceedings and, in certain cases, to commence proceedings. Part 10 prescribes an alternative procedure for making applications where Part 9 does not apply and where there is no form prescribed by rule or practice direction to make the application or where the applicant seeks the court's decision on a question which is unlikely to involve a substantial dispute of fact or where a rule or practice direction requires or permits it.
Provisions relating to a number of issues are included in Part 11 (Miscellaneous), including the withdrawal of an application and provisions for making orders, providing copies of orders and the amendment or revocation of orders.
Separate Parts of the rules are devoted to – Disputing the Court's Jurisdiction (Part 12), Human Rights (Part 13), Interim Injunctions (Part 14), Evidence (Part 15), Witnesses, Depositions and Evidence for Foreign Courts – including rules relating to the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1206 of 2001 on the Taking of Evidence (Part 16), Experts (Part 17), Change of Solicitor (Part 18) and, finally, Appeals (Part 19).
Further detail is provided in the following Practice Directions that supplement the Rules:
Hearings by a single justice of the peace Part 2, rule 7(1)(c)(ii)(bb), Court documents (Part 2, rule 9(4)), Civil restraint orders (Part 3, rule 16), Forms (Part 4, rule 17 and Part 5, rule 28), Who receives a copy of the application form for orders in proceedings (Part 5 rule 24(1)(b)(ii)), The first directions hearing – adoption with a foreign element (Part 5, rule 26(3)), Reports by the adoption agency or local authority (Part 5, rule 29(3)), Reports by registered medical practitioner (Part 5, rule 30(2)), Service (Part 6, section 1), Service out of the jurisdiction (Part 6, section 2), Litigation Friends (Part 7, section 1), Communication of information relating to proceedings (Part 8, rule 78(1)(b)), Disclosing information to adopted adult (Part 8, rule 84(1)(d)) Other applications in proceedings (Part 9), Alternative procedures for applications (Part 10), Human rights, joining the Crown (Part 13), Interim injunctions (Part 14), Evidence (Part 15), Depositions and court attendance by witnesses (Part 16), Experts (Part 17), Change of solicitor (Part 18) and Appeals (Part 19).
The forms replicated here are those listed in the Practice Direction supplementing Part 4, rule 17 (Forms) and Part 5, rule 28 (Consent).