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President’s Guidance (Family Division: Listing In London)

Issued 27 October 2008

1. These arrangements will come into effect on 2 January 2009.

2. These arrangements apply to all hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice (a) in the Family Division and (b) before judges of the Family Division sitting as judges of the Court of Protection.

Lists in the RCJ
3. All Family Division cases at the RCJ (and cases at the RCJ before judges of the Family Division sitting as judges of the Court of Protection) will be listed in one of the following lists:

(i) the urgent applications list;
(ii) the short warned list;
(iii) the FDR list;
(iv) the general list.

4. Every week during term there will be:

(i) one judge sitting as the urgent applications judge;
(ii) one judge sitting as the short warned list judge; and
(iii) not more than one judge sitting as the FDR judge and not less than 4 FDR weeks in each of the  ichaelmas, Winter and Summer terms (i.e. not less than 12 weeks per annum).

5. All other judges will hear cases in the general list.

The urgent applications list
6. The urgent applications list will be confined to:

(i) urgent without notice applications;
(ii) other urgent applications (including appeals in accordance with paragraph 17 below);
(iii) such other cases as the urgent applications judge agrees to hear.

7. The urgent applications judge will no longer deal with applications (whether oral or on paper) for the renewal of interim care and supervision orders.

8. Except with the agreement of the urgent applications judge, and then usually only in cases of real emergency (for example, medical and media cases):

(i) no case will be listed in the urgent applications list or heard by the urgent applications judge if the estimated length of hearing exceeds 30 minutes (or in exceptional circumstances 60 minutes);
(ii) any such case will be transferred by the urgent applications judge either:

(a) with the agreement of the short warned list judge for hearing (either on the same day or on some future day) by the short warned list judge; or
(b) with the agreement of that judge for hearing on the same day by any other judge who is otherwise available; or
(c) in consultation with the Clerk of the Rules for hearing in the general list.

9. All cases in the urgent applications list will be listed ‘at risk’ and if not reached or otherwise determined will be re-listed on the next working day.

The short warned list (SWL)
10. The SWL will be confined to:

(i) if the estimated length of hearing does not exceed one day:
(a) contested cases to which the Hague/Brussels six week rule applies;
(b) contested applications for interim care orders and interim supervision orders (or corresponding orders in relation to incapacitated adults) which cannot be dealt with by the allocated judge.
(c) cases transferred by the urgent applications judge in accordance with paragraph 8.

(ii) if the estimated length of hearing does not exceed half a day:
(a) contested applications for interim maintenance;
(b) contested applications for the discharge or continuation of freezing orders;
(c) urgent interim appeals from the PRFD or FPC certified as such by the urgent applications judge in accordance with paragraph 17;
(d) urgent cases or cases requiring expedition.

11. Cases which do not satisfy the criteria in paragraph 10 may be removed from the SWL by the SWL judge and adjourned for hearing in the general list.

12. First priority in the SWL will be given to cases to which the Hague/Brussels six week rule applies and subject thereto to Court of Protection cases.

13. With the exception of cases to which the Hague/Brussels six week rule applies and Court of Protection cases (which may be listed in the SWL up to six weeks in advance):

(i) no case will be listed in the SWL more than 14 days in advance;
(ii) all cases in the SWL will be listed ‘at risk’.

The FDR list
14. Except with the agreement of the FDR judge no case other than an FDR will be listed in the FDR list or heard by the FDR judge.

15. When the FDR is fixed the date for the final hearing will also be fixed. Providing both dates can be fixed within 12 months they will be fixed to take
into account Counsels’ convenience but if any such fixture cannot be accommodated within the 12 month period then it will be fixed by the Clerk of the Rules without reference to Counsels’ convenience.

16. If, at or following the FDR at any time prior to the final hearing, the terms of a final order are agreed, the terms shall include a provision specifically vacating the final hearing date and it shall be the duty of the applicant’s solicitor to notify the Clerk of the Rules of that provision within 48 hours of such
agreement.

The general list
17. All other cases will be listed in the general list and heard by one of the judges hearing the general list.

Appeals
18. All appeals from the PRFD or FPC will within 7 days of filing be listed (with a time estimate of 30 minutes) for hearing before the urgent applications judge for:

(i) directions; or
(ii) where appropriate (but only if this can be demonstrated during a
hearing lasting no more than 30 minutes) summary dismissal.

The urgent applications judge will decide whether or not to certify the appeal in accordance with paragraph 10.

19. Substantive appeals:

(i) will not, except with the agreement of the urgent applications judge, and then usually only in cases of real emergency, be listed before or heard by the urgent applications judge;
(ii) will, if the estimated length of hearing does not exceed half a day and the appeal has been certified by the urgent applications judge in accordance with paragraphs 10 and 17, be listed before and heard by the short warned list judge;
(iii) will, in all other cases, be listed in the general list.

Allocated cases
20. Unless the judge to whom the case is allocated or reserved agrees, Case Management Conferences and Issues Resolution Hearings in care cases and other directions hearings in cases allocated or reserved to a particular judge (whether relating to cases in the London list or to cases proceeding on Circuit but requiring a hearing during the allocated judge’s London sitting):

(i) will be listed before the judge to whom the case is allocated or reserved;
(ii) will be listed as part of that judge’s general list and not before that judge when sitting as either the urgent applications judge or the short warned list judge or the FDR judge;
(iii) will not be listed for hearing before 10.30am, at lunch time, or after normal court hours.

Time estimates
21. This guidance proceeds upon the basis that the relevant time estimate (which the Clerk of the Rules may require to be certified on a form supplied
by her) includes time for reading and for the preparation and delivery of judgment.