HHJ Lewis: Access for Legal Counsel

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I am the judicial lead at the Central Family Court for the FPL portal, which is used in public law cases.

We are now at a stage where it is necessary for all lawyers appearing in court on public law cases to have access to the case file on the portal. Without such access, it will not be possible for advocates to undertake certain tasks, such as filing position statements, which will not be accepted by email.

Where counsel is instructed, it is for their instructing solicitor to add them to FPL for a specific case. It is not the responsibility of the local authority.

The national FPL team has produced a guidance note to explain how to provide counsel with access.

The purpose of this email is to ask that thought is given within your firms to how best to ensure that counsel is able to access the portal in every case. I think some sets arrange this automatically when instructions are accepted, and I have written to all the main senior clerks to request that they are equally proactive.

If you would like to talk through this, or any other issue relating to FPL, please do contact me. It is very important that we have counsel using the portal on all cases by the end of the year, and if there is anything else that can be done to assist this, I would be happy to help.


His Honour Judge Lewis
Central Family Court