10th View from the President's Chambers

The President of the Family Division has issued his 10th View from the President's Chambers. Key areas covered include:

  • that behind the scenes the new single family court is 'up and running for most practical purposes', with work ongoing to finalise the required rule changes
  • work is almost complete on the amendment of the current pilot Public Law Outline (PLO) and the supporting rules - the final version (PLO 2014) will be finalised by the Family Procedure Rules Committee on 3 March 2014 and published shortly afterwards (see: All change for children law)
  • the application form in public law cases (Form C110A) is being revised to accommodate changes in the PLO
  • the final report of the Private Law Working Group and the final draft of the proposed Child Arrangements Programme will be considered by the Family Procedure Rules Committee on 3 March 2014 with the final version (CAP 2014) to be published shortly afterwards, so as to allow time for everyone to assimilate it before it comes into effect on 22 April 2014 - the final version is unlikely to differ that much from the draft put out for consultation (see: The new CAP for private law work - will it fit and do we want to wear it)
  • new rules and accompanying practice direction in relation to mediation and mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMS) will come into force on 22 April 2014 - they will be finalised by the Family Procedure Rules Committee on 3 March 2014 and published shortly afterwards, as will the amended application form (Form C100), incorporating in a single document, and with various other amendments, the existing Forms C100 and FM1 (see: Make them mediate! Is there a case for compulsion?)
  • the President will shortly issue, for discussion and comment, further draft practice guidance dealing with the next step in relation to transparency, namely the disclosure to the media of certain categories of document, subject, of course, to appropriate restrictions and safeguards (see: New guidance on allocation, transparency and family orders)
  • the President proposes that a revised bundles practice direction will come into effect on 22 April 2014 (but the provision regarding the size of a bundle will take effect at a later date, potentially July 2014)
  • regarding the standard orders project, further drafts will be issued shortly but implementation may be staged and in any event will not take place until after April 2014 (see: New guidance on allocation, transparency and family orders)
  • pending more general changes to the Family Procedure Rules 2010 in relation to arbitration and other forms of ADR, the President proposes to issue in the near future, for discussion and comment, both a draft rule change to enable relevant applications under the Arbitration Act 1996 to be made in the Family Division and not only, as at present, in the Commercial Court, and also draft guidance dealing with a number of procedural matters not covered by S v S [2014] EWHC 7 (Fam)

The full 'View' can be read here: tenthviewfeb2014.

Also of interest is the consultation and guidance issued by the Department for Education on pre-proceedings and orders in children proceedings. The closing date for the consultation is 26 March 2014.

It is good to see that there are plans to publish the various rule changes and forms a few weeks ahead, however I hope the President will still have regard to the huge pressure practitioners are under and the volume of information they need to digest within very tight timescales.

Geraldine Morris is a solicitor and head of the LexisPSL Family team

Twitter: @GeraldineMorris

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