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Family Law Act: Implementation

Volume 590: debated on Monday 1 June 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:The present timetable for bringing into force each provision of the Family Law Act 1996 not yet in force. [HL1936]

The following provisions of the Family Law Act have not yet come into force.

  • (a) Part II (except Section 22) together with the associated schedules 1–3;
  • (b) Section 60 in Part IV; and
  • (c) Section 64 in Part V and in so far as Schedules 8, 9, and 10 (relating to modifications, savings and transitions, and to repeals) remain to be brought into effect, Section 66.
  • In my Written Answer to Lord Acton on 2 April, I explained the Government's commitment to the implementation of Part II of the Act and the practical reasons for the delay in the process. I do not anticipate being able to implement Part II until at least the end of 1999 or even early in the year 2000.Following a recommendation from my Advisory Group on Ancillary Relief, I have decided to bring into force paragraph 16(7) of Schedule 8 to the Act in advance of the other provisions in Part II of the Act. Paragraph 16(7) amends the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to provide for the capitalisation of maintenance payments, and will be brought into force as soon as the necessary commencement provisions can be laid.Section 60 of the Act permits the making of Rules of Court to allow third parties to apply for orders under Part IV on behalf of victims of domestic violence. Detailed consultation will be needed to assess the practicality and resource implications of implementing this section of the Act. No timetable has yet been fixed for this process, nor for Part V which deals with supplemental matters.Section 64 permits the Lord Chancellor by regulations to provide for the separate representation of children in legal proceedings in England and Wales in relation to any matter under Parts II and IV of the Act, or the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Act 1978. My Advisory Board on Family Law is currently carrying out a consultation exercise on the practical implications of bringing this provision into force.