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Financial Remedies Working Group Report - A Summary

Jacqui Thomas, barrister, 37 Park Chambers, summarises the recommendations of the Financial Remedies Working Group.

Jacqui Thomas, barrister, 37 Park Square

Jacqui Thomas, barrister, 37 Park Square Chambers

On 12th August, the Financial Remedies Working Group, as introduced by the President in his 12th View from the President's Chambers, (dated 4th June 2014), published their report. The group's task was described as, "to explore ways of improving the accessibility of the system for litigants in person and to identify ways of further improving good practice in financial remedy cases, confined to matters of practice and procedure".

The group is working on the Money Arrangements Programme (the MAP), with a view to introducing a streamlined, more efficient method of progressing financial remedy cases through the courts.

There is at present a pilot accelerated First Appointment procedure taking place at the Central Family Court, which is due to be reviewed in Autumn 2014 and possibly extended. In general, the view of the working group is that the current procedure of Forms E, FDA, FDR and final hearings works well in most cases, and will continue. However there is room for improvement, as set out in the recommendations below. As has been the theme in recent times, the emphasis on alternative dispute resolution continues, through an increased drive towards more mediation, arbitration and effective use of FDR hearings.

At present, there is no date set for the implementation of any changes, and there is still time for practitioners and others to make their views known through the consultation process.

The report is divided into four chapters:

  1. Procedure
  2. Litigants in Person
  3. Standard orders
  4. Arbitration.

In summary, the recommendations of the group are as follows:

The group has also published a body of draft orders, and recommends that they are adopted by the Courts and practitioners.

Any practitioner wishing to express a view about the report or the recommendations of the working group should contact the President's Private Secretary,

Jacqui Thomas is the co-author of the forthcoming publication Reforming Family Justice to be published by Jordans.