Public law fact-finding and split hearings

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Public law fact-finding and split hearings
  • Origin
  • Subsequent developments
  • Conduct of split hearings
  • Dispensing with or adjourning hearing
  • Costs
  • Appeals

Public law fact-finding and split hearings

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance has been issued, including by the President of the Family Division, regarding all proceedings in the Family Court in England and Wales during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and until further notice, which profoundly affects normal practice, including requirements for the majority of family hearings to be dealt with remotely. For details about the changes to court processes and procedures during this time, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID–19)—news and resources for family lawyers. In addition, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit provides easy access to news, practical guidance and Q&As from across a number of Practice Areas (subject to subscription). This Practice Note sets out the procedure prior to the pandemic and during this period of disruption to the justice system, practitioners should be aware that local practice may vary.

A fact-finding hearing is the first of two parts of a ‘split hearing’, which may be in public or private law proceedings, at which first stage the court makes findings of fact on issues identified the court and set out in the court order listing the hearing. This Practice Note is concerned with the public law context.

On 22 April 2014, the Public Law Outline 2014 (PLO 2014) for care, supervision and other proceedings under Part IV of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) came into effect as the revised FPR 2010,

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