Shortly before leaving his position as President of the Family Division Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division in England and Wales, together with Lord Carloway, head of the Scottish judiciary, agreed a new judicial protocol which provides for the exchange of information between judges intra-UK cross-border cases involving children.

This is an important and significant step forward to ensuring prompt judicial cooperation across borders. The aim of the protocol is to ensure that key information is exchanged promptly and to consider the legal option available to the Court in both jurisdictions.

The protocol recognises that there is an increasing number of children proceedings containing cross border elements between England, Wales and Scotland. Up until now there have been limited means of sharing information between the two jurisdictions and the hope of the new protocol is to refine and streamline this process. One of the key elements is that both jurisdictions recognise a common commitment to the rule of law and the principle that the welfare of the child is a paramount consideration when his or hers needs are considered by the Court.

He also recognises that the removal of children from on country to another may have a harmful effect on such children together with another number of recitals reaffirming the importance of information sharing.

It is vitally important that where you are concerned your child may be removed from one jurisdiction to the other, you seek legal advice promptly. There may well be an early need to obtain legal advice from another jurisdiction in concert with your own solicitor and as such we have a team of Children Law experts at Stephens Scown LLP to assist you in jurisdictional matters and advising you on the options available to achieve the best outcome for you and your children.

Mark Smith is a partner and specialist family solicitor with a specialism in child law. Our family law team advises families across the South West on the best solutions for them. If you would like to get in touch to discuss contact with your children contact the team by telephone 0345 450 5558 or email