Brace yourself: the Financial Remedies Working Group report in a nutshell

Brace yourself: the Financial Remedies Working Group report in a nutshell

Just as the huge law reforms of the family justice system in April 2014 have started to bed in, more reports have been issued proposing further changes. A report from the Financial Remedies Working Group (FRWG) and an interim report from the Children and Vulnerable Witnesses Working Group (which can be viewed here, watch this space for analysis). The FRWG report is huge, with 12 annexes (ten of which can be accessed here, the other two comprise zipped files of standard orders).

What does it all mean?

Well, change and lots of it. Much of it expected (standard orders), other recommendations are unexpected (a reversal of reforms made only in April as to accelerated/shortened procedure). There’s no indication of timescales and some of the suggestions may not happen at all. My guess would be changes to arbitration and obligatory standard orders by the end of the year. Other proposed changes will take longer. And as if judges weren’t already swamped with overloaded lists and LiPs, the FRWG wants them to do lots of training. Perhaps we need more judges until the push to non-court dispute resolution is more embedded? But that’s just wishful thinking…

The report itself is over 8,000 words long. If you don’t have time to read all of that, here are the highlights:

What is the FRWG?

The FRWG is chaired by Mostyn J and Cobb J. It was set up by the President of the Family Division in 2014 following implementation of the major family law reforms in April 2014.

In his 12th View, the President said that the FRWG task is two-fold:

  • to explore ways of improving the accessibility of the system for litigants in person, and
  • to identify ways of further improving good practice in financial remedy cases

The FRWG report is divided into four parts: procedure; litigants in person; standard orders in financial remedy proceedings; and family arbitration.

Procedure

Improvements

The FRWG considers the overall

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About the author:

Geraldine is Head of LexisPSL Family. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1992 and was in practice for 15 years, most recently as a partner and head of the family team at Hart Brown, a large Surrey firm.

Geraldine writes for Butterworths Family Law Service and is a past editor of the Resolution Review. She has been published in the New Law Journal, the Law Society Gazette and the District Judges’ Bulletin as well as in the national press including the Times and the Telegraph.

When in practice she was a member of the Law Society Family and Children Panels, and an accredited Resolution Specialist with a focus on advanced financial provision and pensions. A past Resolution regional secretary and press officer, Geraldine also contributed chapters to the Resolution publications, International Aspects of Family Law (3rd Edition 2009) and The Modern Family (2012).