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A revised statement on the efficient conduct of financial remedy hearings allocated to a High Court judge whether sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice, or elsewhere, has been issued by Mr Justice Mostyn. The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has authorised the release of the statement.
The revised statement includes the following guidance on the criteria for allocation to a High Court judge:
In a case falling within the above financial criteria the governing principle will likely, but not necessarily, be satisfied. There will be some relatively straightforward cases falling within that criteria where a transfer to High Court judge level will nevertheless not be proportionate.
Where a case does not fall within the specified financial criteria, but where the net assets are said to exceed £7.5m the following may justify allocation to a High Court judge:
Where the net assets do not exceed £7.5m, allocation to a High Court judge is only likely to be proportionate where the application involves a novel and important point of law.
Allocation will be undertaken as follows:
Every case will be allocated to an individual High Court judge at the earliest opportunity. They will, unless completely impracticable, conduct all future hearings, including the final hearing, apart from the financial dispute resolution appointment (FDR). Early allocation is essential to achieve judicial continuity which is to be regarded as a critically important objective.
If the allocated judge deems it appropriate, the date for the final hearing may be fixed at the first appointment.
The FDR will be listed with a time estimate of one day unless:
Any interlocutory application in the course of the proceedings must be made to the allocated judge, unless to do so would be impracticable or would cause undue delay.
Allocation by self-certification
The guidance on allocation by self-certification takes effect from 1 July 2015 and applies, as far as practicable, to cases commenced before, as well as those commenced on or after, that date. It applies to financial remedy applications pending in the Family Court where the parties seek allocation to a judge of the High Court. It is no longer confined to cases proceeding in the Central Family Court. The self-certification guidance states:
The full statement can be viewed here.
Geraldine Morris is a solicitor and Head of LexisPSL Family.
0330 161 1234