Guidance from the High Court in case preparation 19 Jun 2012

A High Court Judge, Mr. Justice Charles, has in the recent reported case of X v X [2012] EWHC 538 (Fam) voiced his frustrations that some family law cases are not adequately prepared.  In this case the costs were over £1 million and the final seven day trial did not complete and had to be adjourned on day 7, (adding to more costs). 

Charles J gives guidance to family lawyers on forming the “building blocks” of the case to be presented at Court which he says “should save money and promote the fair resolution of cases”.

Mr Justice Charles refers to his earlier Judgment in the case of Jones -v- Jones [2009] where he recommends that in some big money cases, if at the FDR Hearing the parties fail to reach a settlement, there should then be an exchange of documents identifying the “building blocks” of the case – the relevant allegations; the facts and matters each side is inviting the Court to find; the factors in Section 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which each party says should be applied; and evidence and disclosure which focuses on the facts and matters the Court is being asked to find.

The Judge said that the sharing principle has introduced the need to apply property, company, trust and tax law, and he recommends a change in practice by family lawyers and the Family Courts.  He says in his Judgement that he hopes the profession and the Courts address ways of improving the preparation and presentation for big money cases and that overall a more evidenced based approach is required.

A link to the full Judgment can be found at Family Law Week

For more information on this issue or any other family law issue including if you are seeking a divorce.


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