Did you know…?

…that Deputy District Judges are now not permitted to deal with most Children Act matters? No, nor did I (a gap in my capacious knowledge, how embarrassing) until arriving at court this morning only to be told that the matter would have to be put back as it had accidentally been listed in front of a judge without jurisdiction.

So I thought I would draw your attention to the Family Proceedings (Allocation to Judiciary) Directions 2009, in force since 16 February 2009, which you can read at your leisure here.

It is worth being up to speed on the question of jurisdiction. Today it didn’t matter much but court staff are not infallible in listing a matter in front of an appropriate judge and a judge who is given a list may not spot the problem. I recall an early appeal against Jacqui of Bloody Relations where I successfully overturned an order for committal made by an over eager District Judge who had no ‘power to pot’.

So, for future reference, a DDJ can deal with enforcement of children act matters only, not including residence or special guardianship. So that’s pretty much nothing. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s straighforward or by consent. It’s an interesting rule in the current climate of downshifting as much as possible to the FPC and trying to spread the burden of cases across the court system as widely as possible, and even more so when one thinks that some of our most experienced but semi-retired DJs are sitting as DDJs.

Still, it is not for me to question, only to inform.

7 thoughts on “Did you know…?

  1. Are you suggesting you beat me? Shorely shome mishtake!! Don’t remember that one. Am just listening to your podcast


    • You folded at the off. It was a no-brainer – DJ can’t commit for breach of s8 order with penal notice attached. Before a CJ In Watford. Quite unmemorable for you I expect, but one of my first appeals.

  2. This can be particulalry fun in small courts where there is oly one judge sitting at a time. I had a case recently which was listed for a final hearing (which should not have been necessary, but the LIP on the other side couldn’t accept that) – despite having contacted the court the day before the hearing to check that a suitable judge was sittign we got a DDJ.. we had to pile into cars and all drive over to Nearest Big City (an hour’s drive away) where they slotted us in in front of a real DJ woth a family ticket…

  3. […] to Pink Tape for letting us know that Deputy District judges are now not allowed to deal with most children […]

  4. From my experience many judges should not be dealing with domestic abuse cases either, as they have no proper training to help them understand.

    15 years as an advocate and still the visctim is demonised and LEGALLY ABUSED by the court and the abuser walks free- as pointed out by Professor Marianne Hester.

  5. Julie Haines


    Having read this again in July 2013, is it still the case that a DDJ cannot deal with CA 1989 matters except those referred to in the former President’s guidance 2009?

    Or has it changed?

    • A DDJ still has very limited jurisdiction in children matters – unless they have a family ticket, which then entitles them to deal with all private law children work. Without a family ticket they can deal with money, non mols and emergency without notice PSOs if there is no other judge available.

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