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The family court is the court that deals with most family law cases (some more complex or specialist cases are allocated or reserved to the Family Division of the High Court). The family court can make decisions in a wide range of private law (between individuals) and public law matters (where a local authority is involved in bringing the case). Children law cases which come before the family court are generally about where children should live and who with, who they should see and what support they and their family should get.
Children’s services, family members and children themselves can all ask the family court to make decisions.
Cases in the family court are heard by:
- A judge
- Or a magistrate (magistrates are not judges but have been trained to make decisions and are supported by a trained legal adviser).