During this time of special arrangements for everyone due to the Coronavirus outbreak we are aware that all our members are doing their upmost to continue to serve the needs of clients.
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It goes without saying we all want to practice law and dispute resolution in a non-discriminatory and culturally sensitive way. Beliefs, values and institutions are often specific to ethnic, racial and religious groups. Being culturally competent is part of our professionalism. Without this awareness we are amateurs and risk being ineffective in meeting the needs of our clients and securing the solutions that are required long term.
The aim of this Guidance Note is to explore different values and practices, and in doing so, to help you improve the experience of your clients in whatever process you practice, in respect of their faith, culture and belief.
The family is not just heteronormative (straight couples) and likely never was. The existence of alternative families is more mainstream and accounts for more than 5% of the population and there will be locations in the UK e.g. Brighton, Manchester and London where that percentage is much higher. This Guidance Note is a resource for members to help increase the understanding of these issues.
This guidance has been jointly agreed between Resolution and The Law Society. Particular thanks and acknowledgements are recorded here to The Law Society and Resolution
Family proceedings (whether court-based, collaborative or otherwise) should be conducted cost effectively without compromising the quality of advice that clients crave and deserve, balancing the benefits of any steps taken against the likely costs – financial or emotional. Many family cases are now concluded without the involvement of barristers. However, certain clients will benefit from representation by an effective team of lawyer and barrister in order to achieve an appropriate balance between cost and quality. This guidance note offers advice on best practice for solicitors/legal executives when working with a barrister.
This note aims to provide some guidance about safeguarding children and young people for Resolution's members, their Compliance Officers for Legal Practice (COLPs), and others responsible for risk and compliance.
The aim of this guidance note is to make more efficient the process by which initial enquiries are made of experts and by which they are instructed. It is hoped that the precedents can become widely adopted as through familiarity these benefits will become enhanced. However it provides guidance on the most common questions and issues that arise, but with the warning to practitioners to focus on the specific needs of each case rather than a routine adoption of what can be no more than a model.
Clients going through separation and divorce often ask questions about how best to manage the impact of the process on their children. As family lawyers we may not feel especially equipped or trained to address these queries. Many clients will not seek help from other professionals, such as counsellors or psychologists, so our role as legal advisers provides an important opportunity to provide simple and constructive information and advice that can help these parents put their children at the forefront of the process.
Surrogacy is an area of family law that is on the rise and many practitioners all over the country are being asked to give advice. Whilst there are surrogacy lawyers who specialise in this work, all of us should be equipped to deal with a surrogacy enquiry and to refer on where necessary.
The preparation of court bundles is governed by Practice Direction 27A (Family Procedure Rules 2010). It was issued “to achieve consistency across the country in the Family Court and the Family Division of the High Court in the preparation of court bundles”.
In addition, there have been several subsequent protocols/guidance issued by senior members of the judiciary in relation to electronic bundles (e-bundles). Members must ensure that they keep themselves up to date with the current guidance which is currently being provided on a regular basis.
Marital agreements are becoming an everyday part of many family lawyers’ workload and it is in recognition of this increasing role that this guidance note on dealing with them has been revised. If these agreements are not a mainstay of your practice then it is important for you to consider instructing specialist counsel to provide an opinion on the content of the proposed agreement, review the advice you have given or draft the agreement itself.
There is a fundamental principle that full and frank financial disclosure is needed in order for any consensus to be capable of forming a binding agreement, arbitral award and/or court order, irrespective of the process used to get there. This principle has been established for many years, although tested from time to time in the courts – sometimes with unexpected results. The law continues to develop.
The object of all dispute resolution is to clarify facts and narrow issues. The use of experts may be considered in child-related situations, including proceedings. Those involved in assisting parties, including the court, may be helped by an expert’s findings in relation to injuries or medical complaints, psychological problems including attachments, or even how children have reacted in a supervised contact centre.
The Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010) came into force on 6 April 2011 and made a number of changes to the way in which familiar documents need to be presented.
This practice guide is not intended to set out all of the forms that are in place; the list of forms is extensive and we recommend that you make yourself aware of them. The purpose of this guide is to highlight the key points in relation to the requirements when finalising and submitting documents in relation to family proceedings. All references are to the FPR 2010, unless otherwise stated.
This guide is intended to assist practitioners in advising clients on when expert evidence is required, and instructing the expert in such a way as will be of maximum benefit to the client in assisting them, or the court, in reaching a resolution of a matter in dispute between the parties.
The procedure for financial dispute resolution appointments (FDRs) is set out in Part 9.17 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR) and Practice Direction 9A (PD 9A). They are meetings “held for the purposes of discussion and negotiation”, "to reduce the tension which inevitably arises in family disputes and facilitating settlement of those disputes" (para 6.1 PD 9A).
Issues regarding fertility law have increased significantly in the last few years and members are now likely to encounter such issues on a more frequent basis. There are family lawyers who have a particular specialism in fertility law but it is an area in which we should all be able to give advice and assistance when requested. This guide aims to assist our members on best practice in this area.
Non-married cohabiting relationships look set to continue to increase year on year, so advising clients embarking on cohabitation, those already living together wanting to understand their ‘rights’ and those whose cohabiting relationship has broken down, will form an increasing part of the workload of family lawyers. This guide aims to assist Resolution members and their conveyancing lawyer colleagues to manage these cases effectively, in accordance with our Code of Practice.
It is very common, particularly once court proceedings have commenced, for one or both parties to struggle to meet ongoing legal fees. The parties are usually already struggling to adapt to financially supporting two separate households and may be unable to release funds from assets held in joint names, for example.
One of the most important aspects of a family lawyer's job is to draft documents on behalf of clients. The documentation can take many different forms and it is often these documents that are pivotal in resolving disputes between parties, whether at a court hearing or in negotiations.