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In January 2018, the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, issued his 18th View from the President’s Chambers, dealing with the launch of the Financial Remedy Court (FRC) pilots and the proposed structure and geography of the FRC. The pilots are to commence in London, the West Midlands (Black Country) and South-East Wales.
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has indicated that at this stage the West Midlands pilot will be rolled out, and that thereafter there will be a review of that pilot prior to the roll out of further pilots. Guidance has been issued in relation to the West Midlands pilot, which states that:
In addition, the guidance provides that the focus of the pilots will be to test the following features:
The use of electronic files is an important part of the pilot, and where possible papers are to be submitted via email (however paper bundles will still be required for hearings). As part of the pilot, scanned copies of contested applications will be accepted via email where users are using Payment By Account (PBA), or have provided a telephone number for the divorce centre to call to take payment. If an application is submitted via email, the subject line should read ‘New Form A’. In the West Midlands pilot, emails should be directed to FRCBirmingham@justice.gov.uk.
A gatekeeping and allocation certificate must be completed in relation to contested cases, to assist the court in allocating the case to the appropriate court. The applicant should consult with the respondent about the responses provided in the certificate. Applicants must certify whether the application should be allocated to the complexity list of the FRC, for the reasons detailed on the form. If the matter is not suitable for the complexity list, the form should be completed indicating that the matter is appropriate for the standard list.
Feedback regarding the pilots can be provided via email, using the subject line ‘FR Application Pilot – Feedback’.
Geraldine Morris is a solicitor and head of LexisPSL Family.
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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).
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