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Advocates’ meetings

HHJ Lynn Roberts, Designated Family Judge for Central Family Court, has issued the following message.

We are increasingly having to vacate hearings at CFC because of the absence or very late submission of position statements. On many occasions recently it has become obvious that the reason for this is that the advocates' meeting has taken place after court on the eve of the hearing. Can I remind everyone of recommendation 26 in Mr Justice Keehan's Public Law Working Group report:

"Recommendation 26: Advocates' meetings: using an agenda and providing a summary. Advocates' meeting should take place no less than two working days before a listed hearing. Advocates should agree at the meetings the core reading list, the schedule of issues and list of agreed matters. One sheet of A4 containing those matters should be produced following each advocates' meeting for the judge, and be provided to the judge by 4pm the working day before the hearing."

Please can advocates' meetings for all hearings taking place at CFC be arranged,  and take place, no less than two working days before the hearing. Please can the judge then receive the minute of the meeting, and the position statements by 4 pm on the eve of the hearing. I appreciate that this will not always be possible with emergency hearings.