New Arrangement for Application for Leave to Appeal in the Family Court


The Court of Appeal has made several suggestions to improve the processing time of filed appeals in the Family Court. This has resulted in the adoption of the New Arrangement for Application for Leave to Appeal in the Family Court (“NAAL”), which is summarised below:

  • With immediate effect, each application must be made by way of summons to the Trial Judge who made the order being appealed1. If the Trial Judge is not available, then another Judge will be appointed by the Principal Family Court Judge.
  • The applicant must file a draft ground of appeal attached to the summons and a skeleton submission not longer than five A4 pages single-sided in 14-point font with 1.5 line spacing2. If the application to appeal is late, the applicant must request permission to file out of time and submit an affidavit explaining the reasons for the delay3.
  • Service of the above documents must be accompanied by the NAAL in English and Chinese to all parties except for ex parte proceedings unless so directed. The respondent must file an affidavit of service within three days4. Failure to comply with any of the above may result in the application being struck off for failure to prosecute5.
  • If the respondent opposes the grant of leave to appeal, he must do so within 14 days of service of the application by filing and serving a skeleton submission in opposition in the same form as the applicant’s skeleton identifying why leave should be denied or granted on terms. If necessary, the respondent can file an affirmation in response to applicant’s affirmation6. The respondent will not be allowed to make further submission if he fails to comply with the above without leave of the Court7.
  • If costs are being sought, they must be included in the initial application along with a statement of costs for summary assessment8. Further, the statement of costs must up-dated at least three clear days before the hearing, if a hearing date is fixed9.
  • A party must seek permission of the Court before filing additional documents. If additional submissions are made without permission of the Court, the Family Court Registry should refuse to accept them and return them unread, if lodged10.
  • No date for a hearing will be given at the time the application is made and an oral hearing will only be fixed if the Court so directs11. The hearing does not have to be attended by the counsel responsible for preparing the grounds of appeal or the statement in support thereof. Requests for accommodation of counsel’s diary must be made in the statement in support or opposition.  The date, however, will be fixed according to the need for speedy determination of the application12.
  • If the Applicant is a litigant in person, the Judge may fix a hearing date during which an ex tempore decision may be issued13.

Practitioners and Litigants-in-Person should be mindful of these procedures and ensure compliance when lodging appeals.

Joanne Brown

If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please contact:

Joanne Brown
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Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.

1 NAAL paragraph (“p.”) 2
2 NAAL p. 4(1) & (3)
3 NAAL p. 4(2)
4 NAAL p.5
5 NAAL p.6
6 NAAL p. 4(1) & 3, 7
7 NAAL p.8
8 NAAL p.9
9 NAAL p.12
10 NAAL p.10
11 NAAL p.3
12 NAAL p.11
13 NAAL p.13