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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.
A revised practice direction came into effect on 23 July 2018 relating to the preparation of bundles within court proceedings. Revised PD27A gives instructions on how to prepare bundles for cases in the Family Court and High Court. The new practice direction applies to all court hearings before magistrates and judges sitting in the Family Court, and judges sitting in the Family Division of the High Court. It applies to bundles being lodged for the first time in a case, or whether they are being re-lodged for a further hearing.
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).