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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, eg 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 Queen’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 Family Division of the High Court

General enquiries (Cardiff)

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

Opening hours and facilities:

General enquiries (Leeds)

Leeds Combined Court Centre
The Courthouse
1 Oxford Row

West Yorkshire

Opening hours and facilities:

General enquiries (London)

Royal Courts of Justice

Opening hours and facilities:

General enquiries (Manchester)

Manchester County Court and Family Court Hearing Centre
Manchester Civil and Family Justice Centre
1 Bridge Street West

Greater Manchester
M60 9DJ

Opening hours and facilities:

General enquiries (Birmingham)

Birmingham Civil and Family Justice Hearing Centre
Priory Courts
33 Bull Street

West Midlands
B4 6DS

Opening hours and facilities: