Guidance issued by HMCTS regarding financial remedy pilots

Guidance issued by HMCTS regarding financial remedy pilots

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has issued an 'onboarding pack' for solicitors, primarily in relation to the pilot scheme under Family Procedure Rules 2010, PD 36I (Pilot Scheme: Procedure for online filing of certain applications for consent orders for a financial remedy in connection with matrimonial proceedings). 

The pack includes details as to the types of cases that are currently out of scope for the pilot, ie:

  • divorce applications must have reached decree nisi stage before an application is made for a digital consent order
  • the submitting solicitor must have the ability to pay by Payment by Account (PBA) or online help with fees (and pay by one of these methods) and HMCTS is not be able to accept alternative payment methods or paper help with fees applications
  • HMCTS cannot accept any application where a financial remedy has been issued through existing paper channels
  • HMCTS cannot accept contested applications which have subsequently become consented
  • HMCTS cannot accept applications where one of the parties has a confidential address
  • the pilot system may not be used by the solicitor representing the respondent in the financial remedy proceedings, and
  • HMCTS cannot at this time accept civil partnership applications

Enquiries or feedback relating only to digital cases may be sent to the project inbox at HMCTSFinancialRemedy@justice.gov.uk/.

The pack also includes details of the documentation and information required to complete an application, ie:

  • a copy of the decree nisi or decree absolute from the divorce case
  • a PBA number or an online help with fees reference number
  • a scanned copy of the draft consent order, that has been signed by both parties
  • a PDF version of the consent order
  • a copy of the Form D81 (Statement of information for a consent order in relation to a financial remedy), signed by both parties (separate forms are accepted if really necessary, but not preferred)

Submitting solicitors will also have the opportunity to upload any other relevant documents, for example, pension forms, cover letters etc.

The pack also includes a step-by-step detailed guide to the online system.

Geraldine Morris is a solicitor and head of LexisPSL Family.

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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).