About us

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 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