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The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has issued his fourth View from the President’s Chambers which includes new guidance on standardisation of family orders, allocation and gate keeping, and transparency in family proceedings. Key areas of guidance include:
Standardisation of family orders
The President has appointed a small drafting group under the leadership of Mr Justice Mostyn to provide a comprehensive set of orders which will in due course become mandatory. Various drafts have already been put into use eg forms of freezing order and search order appended by Mostyn J to his judgment in UL v BK  All ER (D) 277 (Jun). The President has indicated that he welcomes and values views on the project.
Key provisions within the draft house rules include:
• an order shall state in its heading the statute(s), or European regulation(s), or protocol under which the powers in question are exercised—it shall not state that the inherent powers of the court are being exercised
• where a party was represented by an advocate, that advocate shall be named on the face of the order
• the order shall not recite the documents which the court read, or the witnesses who were heard, save in a case where an order is made without notice, in which case the details shall be recorded in a recital
• where an order is made without notice the reason for withholding any notice must be recorded in a recital—where an order is made on short notice the reason for withholding full notice must be recorded in a recital
• the applicant for the relief in question shall be referred to in the order as the ’applicant’ and the respondent shall be referred to as the ’respondent’—the parties shall not be referred to by their titles in the main suit (ie petitioner and respondent) save in respect of orders made in the main suit
• children shall be referred to by their first forename and surname
• if a party acts by a litigation friend or a child by a children’s guardian this must be stated in the first paragraph of the
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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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