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Appealing an Order made by the Family Care Centre


  • You have a copy of the Order under appeal

  • You are within time limit

If the case was decided in the Family Care Centre, the appeal is heard by the High Court of Justice, Belfast.

Ensure that there a route for the appeal. If the Family Care Centre has heard an appeal from the Family Proceedings Court you cannot appeal further.  

Remember that Court staff cannot give legal advice, for example, whether you should appeal or whether your appeal will be successful.

You can find information and download a template for a Notice of Appeal here

How to appeal

Necessary Forms:

  • Notice of Appeal

  • Copy of Court Order

  • Written judgment (if any)

To appeal a decision of the Family Care Centre, you must complete and lodge a Notice of Appeal setting out your reasons for appealing within 14 calendar days of the original decision. The original Notice of Appeal, together with a copy of the court Order under appeal and (if available, any written reasons for the decision) must be sent to the Children Office at the Royal Courts of Justice. You can check with the court office if you have any queries about filing the appeal:

A copy of the Notice of Appeal should also be sent to any other party in the case within the 14 calendar day limit. 

For further information on this process click here

Time limit to appeal

Estimated Timeline:

  • File & Serve within 14 days

  • Obtain the Order

  • Usually listed within 6 weeks

An application for an appeal must be made within 14 calendar days of the original decision. It may be possible to obtain an extension to the 14 calendar day limit, but only with very good reason. Do not assume that the court will extend time beyond the strict statutory time limits.


If in doubt you should seek legal advice immediately or you should file your appeal within the strict timescales.


Court Orders are usually sent out approximately 5 days after the hearing. If you are appealing a decision, you may want to arrange to collect a copy of the Order from the court office by emailing the court office.

Grounds of Appeal

Remember to check that you have reasonable grounds to appeal.

Remember to serve the Notice of Appeal

The law on appeals can be complex and you should think carefully about whether to appeal the judge’s decision and whether you have a good reason to appeal.  If you appeal, you will need to detail why you are appealing the decision, including the grounds you wish to rely on. Generally, grounds of appeal are divided into two areas:

  1. Error of law

  2. Serious procedural irregularity


The Notice of Appeal should clearly explain how the decision was wrong in law or how procedure was not followed correctly. This means you will need to make detailed legal and procedural points in your application. If you are unsure about the basis for appeal, you should get legal advice or seek support.

Application Checklist

Be sure to file within the time limit

Obtain proof of postage for serving on the other party

  • Completed Notice of Appeal lodged with the High Court of Justice

  • Copy of the court Order under appeal

  • Written reasons for the decision (if available)

  • Application Fee 

  • Remember to serve copy of the Notice of Appeal on all other parties

What happens next

Remember to check that you have reasonable grounds to appeal.

Remember to serve the Notice of Appeal

Once the Notice of Appeal has been filed, the court will send a date for a first hearing of the appeal where the appeal judge will consider the appeal and decide if it should be listed for a hearing.

In appeals to the High Court, the appellant (party appealing) must provide the judge with the relevant documents and arguments. This is called a court bundle - see Court bundle. The bundle should include a skeleton argument, existing Orders and other relevant documents, such as reports and witness statements.

Further Information

Remember to check that you have reasonable grounds to appeal.

Remember to serve the Notice of Appeal

Fees will be payable upon lodging an appeal. The current fee to appeal to the High Court is £261. For further information on courts fees - see Court fees.


For further information, you can visit the family court info website which contains details on the process of appealing a decision.

To read more about Court offices, you can go here.

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