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.