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Problems arising from lack of representation and translation services highlighted in financial remedies case

Mr Justice Holman permits woman to appeal where both parties acted in person

Mr Justice Holman has granted permission for a woman to appeal a financial remedies order after a lack of representation of either party and of an appointment of an interpreter led to a decision by a deputy district judge which was objectively unfair.

In Azizi v Aghaty [2016] EWHC 110 (Fam) Mr Justice Holman said:

"It may seem that, in what follows, I am being critical of the deputy district judge who heard this matter ... I mean no criticism of her at all. She was faced, as so often occurs since the almost wholesale abolition of Legal Aid, with two unrepresented litigants in person. The first language of neither of them is English, and ...the wife in particular has difficulties with that language. In those difficult circumstances the deputy district judge clearly did her best ..."

The deputy district judge had concluded:

"I find that not only did the wife enter into a bigamist [sic] marriage, but that the husband was innocent of the fact ... The fact of her bigamy and dishonest evidence will be reflected in my order."

Holman J insisted that an interpreter should be present at all further hearings in the matter but acknowledged, as noted by counsel, that even where there is such a direction interpreters sometimes do not attend.

For a fuller report in The Law Society's Gazette, please click here. For the judgment, click here.

31/1/16