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Richard Harrington – My First Month of Family Law Pupillage at Parklane Plowden Chambers

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The start of November marks the end of my first month as a pupil barrister. Starting pupillage was a surreal moment, it was what my years of studying and working had led to. The emotions on my first day included gratitude, excitement and of course, a lot of nerves! Thankfully, those nerves shortly passed as everyone in Chambers was welcoming and I had already met several members at events over the summer. This welcoming nature has continued, and I have felt fully supported within Chambers.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>For my first six months, I am under the supervision of <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/farzana-tai/">Farzana Tai</a>, who specialises in children and financial remedy proceedings. Although Farzana is my supervisor, I have had the benefit of shadowing other members of the family team.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>As a family pupil, I am fortunate to be in court daily. The clerks have been fantastic in ensuring I observe interesting cases and have the relevant papers well in advance of hearings. In this month, I have experienced a range of hearings relating to proceedings concerning public law children, private law children and financial remedy.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Throughout my first month, I have read bundles and briefs, anonymised judgments, conducted research for Farzana and other members, kept detailed attendance notes, drafted orders, and even assisted with cross-examination preparation.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>During my first week, I observed <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/nathaniel-garner/">Nathaniel Garner</a> appear on behalf of a local authority in the High Court on an application for a Wardship Order. In this case, the children were deemed habitually resident in England and Wales, however, were taken to a country in Africa for what was believed to be a holiday but have not returned. Due to the country not being a signatory to the Hauge Convention, a Wardship Order was needed to assist with their return. I also attended the Pupil Practice Management Course in York where I met other pupils from circuit, heard from speakers on how to manage being a self-employed barrister and obtained guidance from renowned advocates.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In my second week, I was instructed to attend Kirklees Magistrates Court for a noting brief. I was instructed to keep a detailed note of a sentencing hearing for a client who had suffered significant personal injury from a road traffic incident. My note was to assist with any civil claim they may bring in the future. I also shadowed Farzana act for a parent in private law children proceedings where parental alienation had been alleged and a contact order be disregarded. This case was particularly interesting as it evidenced how a change of residency can follow where there is evidence of parental alienating behaviours.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Towards the end of the month, I shadowed <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/iain-hutchinson/">Iain Hutchinson</a> and Will Tyler KC represent a local authority at a fact-finding hearing in the High Court. This case involved a child who had become infected with gonorrhoea, and it was alleged to have been transmitted sexually by the parent or/and the step-parent. Given this was a complex and serious case, all parties were represented by Kings Counsel, and I was fortunate to witness a range of different approaches to cross-examination and oral submissions. I also attended a conference ahead of an FDR with <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/julia-nelson/">Julia Nelson</a> who advised a client on how non-matrimonial assets are considered by the court and a conference with Farzana concerning a tribunal appeal for child maintenance.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>My first month at Chambers has provided me with exposure to various areas of family law and the opportunity to learn from the very best on the North Eastern Circuit. The learning process has been insightful, and I am incredibly grateful to be in a set where its members are approachable and encouraging of questions. I look forward to completing the rest of my pupillage at Parklane Plowden Chambers.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Parklane Plowden Chambers ranked across seven practice areas in the Chambers and Partners 2024 rankings

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Parklane Plowden Chambers has been ranked as a Band 1 set across five practice areas and a Band 2 set across two further areas in the Chambers and Partners 2024 rankings.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Chambers has been ranked as Band 1, the highest ranking a Chambers can achieve, across the Chancery; Clinical Negligence; Employment; Family: Children and Personal Injury practice areas.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Additionally, the set has been ranked as Tier 2 for both Family: Matrimonial Finance and Inquests &amp; Public Inquiries.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The individual barrister members received 65 rankings in this year’s edition across:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Chancery</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Clinical Negligence</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Costs Litigation</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Employment</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Family: Children </li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Family: Matrimonial Finance </li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Inquests &amp; Public Inquiries</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Motor Insurance Fraud</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Personal Injury</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Personal Injury: Industrial Disease</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Professional Negligence </li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Real Estate Litigation</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In addition to his Band 1 Personal Injury ranking, <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/andrew-axon/">Andrew Axon</a> has once again retained his individual Clinical Negligence ranking of 'Star Individual'.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Parklane Plowden Chambers named as a Tier 1 barristers’ set across five practice areas in the Legal 500 2024 rankings

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Parklane Plowden Chambers has been ranked as a Tier 1 set across five practice areas and a Tier 2 set across one area in The Legal 500 2024 rankings.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Chambers has been named as Tier 1, the highest ranking a Chambers can achieve, across chancery, probate and tax; clinical negligence; employment; family and children law and personal injury practice areas.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Parklane Plowden is also the only set to be ranked for chancery, probate and tax and clinical negligence on the North Eastern circuit.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Additionally, the set has been ranked as Tier 2 for inquests &amp; inquiries.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The individual barrister members received 79 rankings in this year’s edition across:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Court of Protection and Community Care </li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Chancery, Probate and Tax</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Clinical Negligence</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Commercial Litigation</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Employment</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Family: Children and Domestic Violence </li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Family: Divorce and Financial Remedy </li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Personal Injury</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Property and Construction</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Professional Negligence </li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Inquests and Inquiries</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Parklane Plowden expand Family Team with KC

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Parklane Plowden’s Family Team are delighted to welcome Julia Cheetham KC as a door tenant.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Called in 1990 and Silk since 2015, Julia brings with her an exceptional reputation, dealing with highly complex matters involving children and vulnerable adults.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Julia specialises in:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Family</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Child care</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Court of Protection</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Community Care Law</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Medical</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Human Rights</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>International and Overseas Territories Law</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Julia’s particular area of specialism is in complex cases where one parent has killed another or where a child has been unlawfully killed. Julia has represented parents, children, and local authorities in such cases many of which have involved high-profile criminal cases and/or serious case reviews.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>“Julia is a fantastic addition to Parklane Plowden’s already unrivalled childcare expertise on Circuit, her experience will only enhance the team’s strength in this area.” Mark Williams, Senior Practice Director.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>For further information on the group’s services and expertise, please contact&nbsp;<a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/clerks/mark-williams/">Mark Williams</a>, Senior Practice Director to the Family Team on 0113 228 5043.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

New Rules for Standard Family Orders – Public Law

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>On the 17<sup>th</sup> May 2023 Mr Justice Peel announced a number of changes to the Standard Family Orders, along with guidance as to how such orders should be drafted. This article sets out the main changes with an emphasis on their relevance for Public Family Law practitioners.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The new pro forma Standard Family Orders can be found here:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SFO-Vol-1-150523.zip">https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SFO-Vol-1-150523.zip</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SFO-Vol-2-150523.zip">https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SFO-Vol-2-150523.zip</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The key changes are:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders give a greater steer for the commissioning of SJE experts rather than sole experts, and for their reports to be considered by the court without personal attendance at the hearing.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders accommodate directions relevant to remote hearings and the guidance on electronic bundles.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders include a Permission to Appeal directions order.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders incorporate the changes to law and practice brought by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders incorporate the new required forms for cases involving committal applications.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders incorporate an updated Deprivation of Liberty order, an updated standalone Port Alert order and the correct contact details for any disclosure request to NHS England.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The children orders reduce significantly the use of recitals. In general, recitals now appear at the end of children orders, giving greater prominence to the body and substance of the orders.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>In the children orders, there are separate orders for different stages of public law and private law proceedings, all of which have been made more streamlined.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>House Rules</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Mr Justice Peel sets out the ‘House Rules’ for the drafting of Family Orders, the main points of these are summarised below.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Recitals</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Recitals in a children order shall appear in a schedule at the end of the order.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Recitals must only record necessary information, drafted in a short and neutral manner.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Recitals should not:<ul><li>record what happened in the hearing</li></ul><ul><li>record the parties’ position</li></ul><ul><li>recite the documents which the court read (unless it was a without notice hearing)</li></ul><!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>recite the witnesses who were heard (unless it was a without notice hearing)</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Disclosure Orders</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Disclosure orders against third parties should each be drawn as a separate order</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The main order should include, in the body of the order, what disclosure orders have been made and the date by which the disclosure should be made.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Format of order</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The body of orders should always be prepared in Times New Roman font, 12 point, with single spacing.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Orders should be consecutively numbered from 1 irrespective of whether the paragraph in question concerns a definition, recital, agreement, undertaking or order. The schedule of recitals shall recommence as paragraph 1.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The next hearing should appear at the start of the Order, with the following orders and directions in chronological order.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Parties:<ul><li>The parties shall be specified at the beginning of the order.</li></ul><ul><li>Children shall be referred to by their first forename and surname.</li></ul><ul><li>Each child shall be numbered as a separate respondent.</li></ul><ul><li>The children’s guardian shall be referred to as “the guardian”.</li></ul><ul><li>If a party acts by a litigation friend, or a child by a children’s guardian, this must be stated.</li></ul><ul><li>Advocates should be identified on the face of the order as Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms etc. [surname] or by their first name and surname, with counsel being identified as such.</li></ul><ul><li>Contact details should be included for litigants in person and the solicitor of represented parties. Counsel’s details should not be included.</li></ul><ul><li>Language</li></ul><ul><li>Clear English should be used at all times, avoiding archaic legal language.</li></ul><ul><li>Definitions appear in the recitals. Abbreviations may be used.</li></ul><ul><li>In the body of the order, parties should be referred to by their status (e.g. “applicant” and “respondent”) rather than by their role in the proceedings (e.g. the mother, the father etc.).</li></ul><ul><li>“Their” should be used in a singular sense instead of “his or hers”.</li></ul><ul><li>Where a direction or order is for a party to do something, it must be directed to the party and not to their solicitor.</li></ul><ul><li>Dates must be specified using the full name of the month and year, for example 17 May 2013</li></ul><!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Times must be stated using the 24-hour format for example - 17:00 or 12:00</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list -->

Drafting Family Orders – the New ‘House Rules’ and Standard Family Orders – May 2023 | Part 2 – Financial Provision and Divorce Orders

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The revision to Standard Family Orders (SFO) released on 17 May 2023 are said to:<br><em>“Reflect changes in law, practice, and procedure. In part, they have been amended to achieve internal consistency and clarity of phraseology. Formatting and stylistic improvements have also been made.” </em>(Advisory Notice by Mr Justice Peel, Judge in Charge of the Standard Orders).</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In Part 1, Katherine Goss set out the May 2023 key changes to Private Children orders : <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/new-house-rules-and-standard-family-orders-may-2023/">https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/new-house-rules-and-standard-family-orders-may-2023/</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This second advisory note therefore concentrates on the May 2023 key changes to the Financial Provision and Divorce orders as a result of the May 2023 revision and also sets out in summary the new “House Rules” on how to draft orders.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>As before, the SFOs do not have the status of&nbsp;<em>“forms”</em>&nbsp;under FPR Part 5. The default position is that they should be used, but parties and the court are permitted to adapt them to such extent as may be appropriate.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.judiciary.uk/guidance-and-resources/advisory-notice-by-mr-justice-peel-judge-in-charge-of-the-standard-orders/">Advisory Notice by Mr Justice Peel, Judge in Charge of the Standard Orders - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary</a>.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Click on the above link to access:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><a href="https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/HouseRules.May2023.docx"><strong>Download&nbsp;HouseRules.May2023.docxfile</strong></a><strong></strong></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li><a href="https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SFO-Vol-1-150523.zip"><strong>Download&nbsp;SFO-Vol-1-150523.zipfile</strong></a></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li><a href="https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SFO-Vol-2-150523.zip"><strong>Download&nbsp;SFO-Vol-2-150523.zipfile</strong></a></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>The Family Orders May 2023 ‘House Rules’ are then in summary :</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>1) All orders made by the Family Court and the High Court (Family Division) are to be in the standard forms as contained in Vol 1 and 2 so when drafting orders, whether by consent or following a hearing you should use the standard order templates adapted as appropriate to the facts of the case.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>2) Recitals -in a financial order these should appear at the beginning of the order BUT in a children order they are to be <strong>at the end of the order</strong>. Recitals must only record necessary information, drafted in as short and neutral a manner as possible. They should not record what happened in the hearing and should be limited to essential background matters which are not part of the body of the order. Any purported views of the court which did not form part of the court’s decision should not be recited. The recording of a party’s position before, during, or after the hearing as a recital should cease unless the standard order template requires such information.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>3) Do Not - recite the documents read, or witnesses heard, save without notice hearings, in which case the details shall be recorded in a recital as shall the reason for the hearing being made without notice &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>4) Third party disclosure orders/non-party orders need to be done as separate orders &nbsp;not contained in the main order from the proceedings, but the main order should record that separate order(s) have been made and &nbsp;should identify what the separate order was for and the date by which any information / evidence arising from that order is to be disclosed.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>5) Format of order: </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>a. The body of orders should always be prepared in Times New Roman font, 12 point, with single spacing.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>b. An order shall be consecutively numbered from 1 irrespective of whether the paragraph in question concerns a definition, recital, agreement, undertaking or order. Where possible, and in any event as provided in the standard order templates, recitals in children cases should appear in a schedule to the order. The numbering of paragraphs in any schedule shall recommence as paragraph 1.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>c. Subparagraphs, to two levels only, are permitted and shall be numbered (a), (b) etc, then (i), (ii) etc (with or without brackets).</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>d. So far as possible, the order should contain orders and directions in a chronological order, save that the directions in respect of the next hearings should appear at the start of the order.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>e. An order shall state in its heading the statute(s), or European Regulation(s), or Protocol under which the powers in question are exercised. It shall not state that the inherent powers of the court are being exercised.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>6) Parties:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>a. The parties shall be specified at the beginning of the order.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>b. Use the “applicant” and the “respondent” not in the main suit (i.e. petitioner and respondent) save in respect of orders made in the main suit.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>c. Children shall be referred to by their first forename and surname.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>d. Each child shall be numbered as a separate respondent.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>e. The children’s guardian shall be referred to as “the guardian.”</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>f. If a party acts by a litigation friend, or a child by a children’s guardian, this must be stated in the paragraph of the order detailing the parties to the proceedings.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>7) Where a party was represented by an advocate, that advocate shall be named on the face of the order. Formality of naming should be preserved, with the advocate being identified as “Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms etc. [surname]” or by their first name and surname. If the advocate is counsel, the order should so state.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>8) Where a standard order template requires contact details to be inserted into the paragraph detailing the parties to the proceedings, those contact details shall be of the party if a litigant in person, or of the solicitors on the court record if the party is represented. Contact details for counsel should not be used.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>9) Clear English (or Welsh in Wales) should be used at all times. Archaic legal language (“the party of the first part,” “hereinabove,” “heretofore” etc.) should be avoided.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>10) If definitions are required, they shall appear in the recitals. Abbreviations may be used.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>11) In the body of the order, parties should be referred to by their status (e.g. “applicant” and “respondent”) rather than by their role in the proceedings (e.g. the mother, the father etc.)</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>12) Although not grammatically pure the plural pronoun “their” should be used in a singular sense instead of “his or hers.”</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>13) An obligation to do an act as provided for in an order shall be taken to include causing the act to take place. Thus the phrase “or cause to be paid,” does not need to be included in an order.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>14) An obligation to do an act within a specified period shall state the actual date and time by which the act must be done.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>15) Where a direction or order is for a party to do something, it must be directed to the party and not to their solicitor.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>16) Dates shall be specified and must use the full name of the month and the year in full form (e.g. 17 May 2013 and not 17<sup>th </sup>May 2013 or 17/5/13 or May 17<sup>th</sup>, 2013 or “this 17<sup>th </sup>day of May 2013”). Times must be stated using the 24-hour format (e.g. 17:00 or 12:00, not 5pm or noon.)</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>17) Distances should be specified metrically up to 1,000 metres. Beyond that distance either system, imperial or metric, may be used.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>18) Monetary sums shall be denoted numerically, save that for sums expressed in millions the abbreviation “m” may be used. Other variants e.g. “M” or “millions” should not be used. Currencies shall be expressed by the usual symbols. Thus, for example, £, €, US$ and A$ should be used, not GBP, EUR, USD, and AUD.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Changes to the Standard Family Orders (Financial Provision)</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Key Practical issues and the need for change:</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The SFO ‘long directions order’ was (in the 2020 incarnation) at 46 pages extremely long and needed wholesale revision.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Across the board the orders needed to accommodate directions for remote hearings and electronic bundles and to update the forms in the light of the Efficient Conduct Statement.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Given that the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 is now in force the terminology used in divorce, dissolution, nullity, and separation proceedings needed updating &nbsp;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Specific changes</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The ‘long’ directions order is now down to 32 pages from 46 pages .</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders accommodate directions relevant to remote hearings and the guidance on electronic bundles (paragraph 76 Order 7.0 Vol 2)</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders incorporate the provisions of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, including prohibition against cross examination provisions, and the appointment of a&nbsp;<strong>Qualified Legal Representative</strong>&nbsp;(Vol 2 Orders 24.1-24.7)</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders contain directions supporting the Statement on the Efficient Conduct of Financial Remedy proceedings in the Financial Remedies Court Below High Court Judge level.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The Financial Directions Orders &nbsp;(Order 1.1 and 1.2) orders give a greater steer for the commissioning of SJE experts rather than sole experts, and for their reports to be considered by the court without personal attendance at the hearing. This extends to there being in the <strong>Order 1.1 Long version</strong> specific reference t<a>hat the court is highly likely in the first instance to make an order for a single joint expert report and that it is only as a result of a <em>Daniels v Walker</em> application, or for some other reason, that the court permits one or both parties to obtain their own expert report</a>.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The financial orders include additional undertakings such as (i) not applying for decree absolute/final decree until 28 days after the making of a financial order (relevant for the making of a pension sharing order); (ii) removal of Land Registry notices; and (iii) obtaining a Get.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders incorporate the provisions of the Divorce and Dissolution Act 2020, incorporating the new terminology for divorces – conditional order and final order in place of decree nisi and decree absolute – although retaining both options for the time being while this change takes effect.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders incorporate the provisions of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, including prohibition against cross examination provisions, and the appointment of a Qualified Legal Representative.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The financial orders include draft costs orders updated to reflect changes in practice and guidance on costs.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The financial orders include draft directions and substantive orders on pensions updated to reflect changes in practice and guidance in this area.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The financial orders include a free-standing draft order to accommodate the Accelerated First Appointment procedure.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The orders include a Permission to Appeal directions order.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Warning notices have been updated and made consistent.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>It would serve all practitioners well to always have the ‘House Rules’ in mind to ensure that Orders do not require amendment by the court and to update personal templates with the new SFO’s.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:group {"layout":{"type":"constrained"}} --> <div class="wp-block-group"><!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Julia Nelson is the head of the family law team at Parklane Plowden Chambers. Julia's practice specialises in Financial Provision and Private Children Law. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --></div> <!-- /wp:group -->


<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Parklane Plowden's family specialists, Naakesha Michl and Naomi Hartridge will be discussing the public and private implications of Parental Alienation.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/naakesha-michl/">Naakesha Michl</a> joined Parklane Plowden in January 2022 after spending the first 6 years of her career at the Bar at KBW Chambers. She specialises in all areas of family law, including public and private children law and finance. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/naomi-hartridge/">Naomi Hartridge</a> qualified as a Solicitor in 1999 and initially worked in white collar crime in Harley Street, London. Naomi then transferred to the Bar in 2017. Within her private law practice Naomi has been instructed on matters involving parental alienation, international relocation, non-accidental injury, sexual offences and a variety of protracted contact and parenting issues.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This event will be taking place in our <strong>Leeds Chambers on 14th June from 5 PM onwards</strong>. This is a hybrid event and attendance is possible via Zoom.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Sign up to this event <a href="http://lexlinks.parklaneplowden.co.uk/doForm.aspx?a=0xF15D4A97E0E04123&amp;d=0x49EB4C9596DBE1A5^0xBDC0B87423493533|0x40F3E49C83A12815^0xAF1BA1DD83354AE1|0xF1B146662D144B75^0x8A1CDD2DB76555E3|0x9CB58EF48012E032^0x9BAE882720B3E2DD|0xA14B30AADF25AF0D^0x4538EA01547C6D9520542FC6B6F63C93|0x43D48F22BB6859DF^0x9BAE882720B3E2DD|0xD52134AC788FF0FE^0xAF1BA1DD83354AE1|">here</a>. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

D v R [2023]: An important reminder of the application of Part 3A and Practice Direction 3AA

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>[2023] EWHC 406 (Fam)<a href="#_ftn1" id="_ftnref1">[1]</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Rajni Virk, Pupil Barrister</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>In this recent authority, Mrs Justice Theis DBE considers an appeal following a fact-finding hearing on the grounds that Part 3A and Practice Direction 3AA Family Procedure Rules 2010 were not complied with by the judge. This appeal was allowed, the findings were set aside and the case was remitted to the Designated Family Judge to consider a re-hearing. This case provides a helpful legal framework of the important provisions when the case involves a vulnerable party.</em></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Background</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The parties had been in a relationship since 2015, married in May 2019 and separated in June 2021. They had one child together (X) who was born in 2020. Since separation, X remained living with the mother. The father made an application in December 2021 to spend time with X. During the proceedings, the mother made allegations of domestic abuse against the father. The fact-finding hearing took place remotely in September 2022 before Recorder Bradberry, it lasted for four days and both parties were legally represented.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The mother appealed the judgment on the grounds that the judge failed to comply with the court’s duties under Part 3A and Practice Direction 3AA Family Procedure Rules 2010 (‘FPR’) and section 62 Domestic Abuse Act (‘DAA’) and how the court dealt with section 98 Children Act 1989.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Legal Framework</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>At paragraphs 19 – 24 Mrs Justice Theis DBE helpfully sets out the key law applicable to appeals and participation of vulnerable parties in proceedings.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>Appeals</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>An appeal may only be allowed where the decision of the court was wrong or there was a procedural irregularity, such that the decision made was unjust<a href="#_ftn2" id="_ftnref2">[2]</a>. This conclusion can be reached by the appellate court where;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list {"ordered":true,"type":"a"} --> <ol type="a"><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>there has been an error of law;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>the judge had clearly failed to give due weight to some very significant matter or, by contrast, has clearly given undue weight to some matter not deserving of it<a href="#_ftn3" id="_ftnref3">[3]</a>;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>that a conclusion has been reached on the facts before the court which was not open to the judge reaching them on the evidence<a href="#_ftn4" id="_ftnref4">[4]</a>;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>that a process has been adopted at the court below which is procedurally irregular and unfair to such an extent that it renders the decision made unjust<a href="#_ftn5" id="_ftnref5">[5]</a>; or</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>that a discretion has been exercised which is outside the parameters within which it is possible to heave reasonable disagreement<a href="#_ftn6" id="_ftnref6">[6]</a>.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ol> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>Participation of Vulnerable Parties</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This is governed by FPR Part 3A “Vulnerable Persons: Participation in Proceedings and Giving Evidence” and is supplemented by Practice Direction 3AA (‘PD3AA’). No definition is given to ‘vulnerability’ however, some factors the court may consider are set out in PD3AA paragraph 2.1. These provisions were introduced in 2017 and FPR 3A was amended in 2022 for cases involving allegations of domestic abuse. These changes were helpfully summarised by Mrs Justice Knowles in <em>Re M (Private Law Children Proceedings: Case Management: Intimate Images) </em>[2022] EWHC 986 (Fam), which highlighted the inclusion of Rule 3A.2A; ‘<em>Court’s duty to consider making participation directions: victims of domestic abuse’</em> and the amendments following the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (particularly section 63).</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In her judgment, Mrs Justice Theis DBE identifies Mrs Justice Knowles’ summary in <em>Re M</em> as essential reading for any judge involved in proceedings with allegations of domestic abuse. A summary of the steps that a court should follow in these circumstances are:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(1) </em></strong>Is this a case where there are allegations of domestic abuse within the definition of</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>section 1 DAA? Section 1 defines “domestic abuse” as follows:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(2) Behaviour of a person (“A”) towards another person (“B”) is “domestic abuse” if –</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other,</em> <em>and</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) the behaviour is abusive.</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(3)Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following –</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) physical or sexual abuse;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) violent or threatening behaviour;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(c) controlling or coercive behaviour;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(d) economic abuse;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(e) psychological, emotional or other abuse;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a</em> <em>course of conduct.</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(4) “Economic abuse” means any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on B’s ability to –</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) obtain goods or services.</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(5) For the purposes of this Act A’s behaviour may be behaviour “towards” B despite the</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>fact that it consists of conduct directed at another person (for example, B’s child)”</em>.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(2) </em></strong>If there are allegations of domestic abuse s 63 DAA applies and Rule 3A.2A provides:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>3A.2A Court’s duty to consider making participation directions: victims of domestic abuse</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(1) “where it is stated that a party or witness is, or is at risk of being, a victim of domestic abuse carried out by a party, a relative of another party, or a witness in</em> <em>the proceedings, the court <strong>must </strong>assume that the following matters are diminished</em> <em>–</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) the quality of the party’s or witness’s evidence;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) in relation to a party, their participation in the proceedings”</em>…</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(3) </em></strong>Where the assumption set out in paragraph <strong>(2) </strong>above applies, the court “<strong><em>must </em></strong><em>consider whether it is necessary to make one or more participation directions</em>” (Rule3A.2A(3)) (emphasis added). Participation directions are often referred to as ‘specialmeasures’.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(4) </em></strong>It is important to keep in mind, and distinguish between, the need for participation directions to facilitate participation in a hearing from those relating to how evidence is given. As regards participation in a hearing, there is a need for that to be considered at the start of the proceedings (and kept under review), whereas those applying to the giving of oral evidence may be additional and/or different to any earlier participation directions. As regards those that may be required for giving evidence, they may best be considered after the written evidence has been filed.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(5) </em></strong>A ground rules hearing should be held. PD3AA para 5.2 states <em>“When the court has decided that a vulnerable party, vulnerable witness or protected party should give evidence there shall be a “ground rules hearing” prior to any hearing at which evidence is to be heard, at which any necessary participation directions will be given’. </em>There is no need for this to be a separate hearing to any other hearing in the proceedingsbut a part of the hearing should specifically relate to consideration of any participationdirections.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(6) </em></strong>Rule 3A.7 sets out a list of matters to which the court must have regard to <em>“when deciding whether to make one or more participation directions:</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) the impact of any actual or perceived intimidation, including any behaviour towards the party or witness on the part of –</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(i) any other party or other witness to the proceedings or members of the family or associates of that other party or other witness; or</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(ii) any members of the family of the party or witness;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) whether the party or witness –</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(i) suffers from mental disorder or otherwise has a significant impairment of intelligence or social functioning;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(ii) has a physical disability or suffers from a physical disorder; or</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(iii) is undergoing medical treatment;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(c) the nature and extent of the information before the court;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(d) the issues arising in the proceedings including (but not limited to) any</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>concerns arising in relation to abuse;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(e) whether a matter is contentious;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(f) the age, maturity and understanding of the party or witness;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(g) the social and cultural background and ethnic origins of the party or witness;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(h) the domestic circumstances and religious beliefs of the party or witness;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(i) any questions which the court is putting or causing to be put to a witness in</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>accordance with section 31G(6) of the 1984 Act<a href="#_ftn7" id="_ftnref7"><strong>[7]</strong></a>;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(j) any characteristic of the party or witness which is relevant to the participation</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>direction which may be made;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(k) whether any measure is available to the court;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(l) the costs of any available measure; and</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(m) any other matter set out in Practice Direction 3AA”.</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(7) </em></strong><em>The court may make such directions for the measures specified in Rule 3A.8. In addition, the court may use its general case management powers as it considers appropriate to facilitate the party’s participation (para 4.2 of PD 3AA).</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(8) </em></strong><em>The measures set out in Rule 3A.8 “are those which –</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) prevent a party or witness from seeing another party or witness;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) allow a party or witness to participate in hearings and give evidence by live link;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(c) provide for a party or witness to use a device to help communicate;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(d) provide for a party or witness to participate in proceedings with the assistance of an intermediary;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(e) provide for a party or witness to be questioned in court with the assistance of an intermediary; or</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(f) do anything else which is set out in Practice Direction 3AA”.</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>(9) </em></strong><em>The court should set out its reasons on the court order for making, varying, revoking or refusing any directions in FPR Part 3A (Rule 3A.9).</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Mrs Justice Theis DBE also referred to the decision of Baker LJ in <em>A v A Local Authority and others </em>[2022] EWCA Civ 8, specifically paragraphs 41-42. In particular, Baker LJ states when discussing Part 3A; “<em>All such provisions are a key component of the case management process which ensures compliance with the overriding objective of enabling the court to deal with cases justly.”</em> Importantly, Baker LJ goes on to say that “<em>It does not follow, however, that a failure to comply with these provisions, whether through oversight or inadvertence, will invariably lead to a successful appeal. The question on appeal in each case will be, first, whether there has been a serious procedural or other irregularity and, secondly, if so, whether as a result the decision was unjust.”</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Submissions</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In relation to ground 1, it was submitted on behalf of the appellant that the serious nature of the allegations in this case encompass the meaning of domestic abuse. Thus, under FPR rule 3A.2A the mother should have been identified as someone who was a vulnerable party, and the court was under a duty to consider if any participatory directions were required when she gave evidence. It was submitted that the court wholly failed in this duty and in the judge’s conclusions about the mother’s evidence, the judge noted the mother’s inconsistencies. It was submitted on the mother's behalf that no account was taken of her vulnerabilities as a complainant of domestic abuse, and what potential impact this may have had on her evidence. Further, the failure to comply with the mandatory requirements of FPR Rule 3A was a serious procedural error, resulting in the hearing being unfair and unjust. The submissions in relation to ground 2 covered similar legal points. It was submitted that the judge was wrong to replay videos without having a ground rules hearing to consider any potential impact this may have on the mother as a vulnerable witness and any participation directions that should be made.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The father, who appeared in person, provided a written skeleton argument and oral submissions. He submitted that there would simply be no difference in the final outcome and the function of a remote hearing would have assisted the mother. At no point did the mother ask for her camera to be switched off, she had breaks during her evidence and the videos were required to be played as she disputed facts.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Decision and Conclusion</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Whilst considering her decision, Mrs Justice Theis DBE reiterated historic appeals in relation to compliance with FPR Part 3 and PD3AA at [34]. The recurrent grounds resulting in a successful appeal were on the “<em>basis of procedural irregularity where the court had failed to comply with its duty to consider the vulnerability of a party or a witness, and to then, in turn, hold a ground rules hearing and consider what, if any, participation directions should be made</em>.”<a href="#_ftn8" id="_ftnref8">[8]</a> Mrs Justice Theis DBE also drew attention to the fact that neither party’s legal representative raised this as an issue and these requirements “<strong><em>should now be embedded in the legal landscape of these cases to ensure the important safeguards they provide are kept under active review</em></strong>.”<a href="#_ftn9" id="_ftnref9">[9]</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The appeal was allowed on grounds 1 and 2 and the detailed reasons are set out at [37]. As the appeal was successful on these grounds, it was deemed not necessary to consider the last ground. The reasons are in summary;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list {"ordered":true,"type":"a"} --> <ol type="a"><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>No ground rules hearing took place nor was it considered;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>This lack of consideration, it left a gap in the safeguards for a vulnerable witness;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>At no point did the court consider or address any participation directions for a vulnerable witness, whether needed or not;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Allegations involved intimate details of the parties’ relationship;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>No consideration was given to the video evidence; and</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --> <!-- wp:list-item --> <li>The totality of failing to consider Part 3A and the lack of consideration of the mother’s vulnerability resulted in the hearing being unfair.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ol> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This appeal, together with the decision in <em>Re M</em>, provide a helpful summary of the law in relation to vulnerable witnesses for practitioners. Further, it highlights a duty, not only for the court, but also representatives to ensure that this issue is continually reviewed throughout proceedings. There have been increasingly more and more cases that invoke Practice Direction 12J, where the nature of the allegations involve witnesses that fall into the category of being ‘vulnerable’. Therefore, the judgment of Mrs Justice Knowles in <em>Re M </em>and the principles set out in this appeal should remain at the forefront of practitioners’ minds when involved in such cases.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:separator --> <hr class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/> <!-- /wp:separator --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref1" id="_ftn1">[1]</a> <a href="https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2023/406.html">D v R [2023] EWHC 406 (Fam) (24 February 2023) (bailii.org)</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref2" id="_ftn2">[2]</a> FPR rule 30.12 (3)</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref3" id="_ftn3">[3]</a> <em>B v B (Residence Orders: Reason for Decision) </em>[1997] 2 FLR 602</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref4" id="_ftn4">[4]</a> <em>Royal Bank of Scotland v Carlyle </em>[2015] UKSC 13</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref5" id="_ftn5">[5]</a> <em>Re S-W (Care Proceedings: Case Management Hearing) </em>[2015] 2 FLR 136</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref6" id="_ftn6">[6]</a> <em>G v G (Minors: Custody Appeal) </em>[1985] 1 WLR 647</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a id="_ftn7" href="#_ftnref7">[7]</a> Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref8" id="_ftn8">[8]</a> [34]</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref9" id="_ftn9">[9]</a> [35]</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->