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Term Main definition
Emergency Protection Order (EPO)

Order made if the Court is satisfied that not removing the child to local authority accommodation or not keeping him there will cause him significant harm.

Equality of Arms

Principle in human rights law which ensures a party can present a case with being at a disadvantage vis-à-vis his opponent.

European Convention on Human Rights

International treaty of 18 articles to protect human rights.


Proof a litigant must provide to support his position.

Ex Parte (Latin: “by a party”)

Hearing at which only one party is present.


Questioning of a party’s witness.


Document attached to an affidavit.

Expert Witness

Authority in a particular field who can provide the court with scientific or technical information outside the experience and knowledge of the judge.

Extempore (Latin: “out of the moment”)

Judgment delivered by the judge on the day.

Facts & Reasons Report

Report written by magistrates to provide a rationale for a decision to order a child to be taken into care.

Family Assistance Order

Order that CAFCASS or social services “advise, assist and befriend” a family.

Family Court Advisor

CAFCASS officer who interviews the parties and children before advising the Court on the appropriate decision.


An abbreviation for Financial Dispute Resolution which is the second and main court hearing held in Financial Remedy cases at which a judge considers evidence from both parties before giving an indication of what a fair settlement would be.


Deliver a document by post or otherwise to the court office.

Final Hearing

Hearing at which the judge makes his final decision.

Want to know more about Family Law terminology?

A big thank you to Nick and Ruth Langford for their contribution to the Wikivorce glossary. For a more in-depth definition of the various legal terms listed above take a look at their book : The Family Law A to Z available to buy on Amazon.