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A pilot for Cinderella

Published by Mark Tattersall in Finance · 3/5/2018 15:35:25

Pilot schemes are currently being run reforming the way in which applications for divorce court financial orders are dealt with. The President of the Family Division (the most senior judge in The Family Court) has called this area of law as “the Cinderella of family justice”. Under the pilot, there will be “hubs” of specialisation (in due course, Leeds & Sheffield in the old county of Yorkshire), where hearings will be held but also Financial Remedies Hearing Centres (in due course, Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Wakefield & York) where hearings may also be held. The aim is to concentrate judicial expertise among a limited number of judges and thereby potentially to improve the quality of justice. Mention is made of “sufficient time being allowed not only for the hearing but also for judicial preparation” (judges are not always given sufficient time under the current system to fully read and absorb papers) and of “de-linking” the divorce process from “money”. These appear to be welcome developments but the long-standing lack of investment in the court system (where clients regularly have to wait months for hearings because of the calls on judges’ time) may knock some of the shine off.  Mark Tattersall, partner at Chivers Walsh Family Law.

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