Family Division of the High Court

What we do

We hear cases where a child who is the subject of legal proceedings must be protected and this protection is not possible under the Children Act 1989. This is called our ‘inherent jurisdiction’. The most common type of case is where a child is made a ‘ward of the court’ (court consent is needed for important decisions).

We also handle cases of international child abduction but only if the abduction falls under either:

  • the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
  • Brussels II Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003

We can also hear cases about forced marriage, female genital mutilation and applications for financial relief where a divorce has taken place outside England and Wales. The Family Court can also hear these cases and we will usually transfer straightforward cases to them.

The Family Court will normally hear all other cases about family issues, but may transfer some cases to us, for instance if complex issues are involved.

We also hear appeals from certain decisions made by the Family Court.

Who we are

We are one of 3 divisions of the High Court of Justice, together with the Chancery Division and the King’s Bench Division.

We are based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London and at various other locations across England and Wales. Hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice are usually heard by a High Court judge. Outside London, hearings are heard by a district judge.

Court information

Contact the Family Division of the High Court

Cardiff general enquiries

Cardiff Civil and Family Justice Centre
2 Park Street
South Wales
CF10 1ET
United Kingdom


029 2037 6400

Opening hours and facilities:

Leeds general enquiries

Leeds Combined Court Centre
The Courthouse
1 Oxford Row
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom


0113 306 2800

Opening hours and facilities:

London general enquiries

Royal Courts of Justice
United Kingdom


020 7947 6000

Opening hours and facilities:

Manchester general enquiries

Manchester County Court and Family Court Hearing Centre
Manchester Civil and Family Justice Centre
1 Bridge Street West
Greater Manchester
M60 9DJ
United Kingdom


0161 240 5300

Opening hours and facilities:

Birmingham general enquiries

Birmingham Civil and Family Justice Hearing Centre
Priory Courts
33 Bull Street
West Midlands
B4 6DS
United Kingdom


0121 681 3010

Opening hours and facilities: