In a perfect world, the court keeps a court bundle; therefore, your entire case paperwork ..Read More
Facing a courtroom and/or a hearing can be a daunting prospect for anyone. Rest assured, you do not have to attend court hearings alone!
We must clarify that we cannot guarantee ‘rights of audience’ in court because our regulator is not covered for reserved activities. But there is a strong presumption for litigants-in-person to take a lay adviser with them to court.
We attend court as your ‘McKenzie Friend’. We can be with you, quietly advise you and take notes of the proceedings. If the judge permits it, we might be able to address the court on your behalf.
But whether we are addressing the court or you are, the same message will be given because we will guide you on what to say.
If you want a guarantee that someone can address the court on your behalf, we can refer to our solicitor to deal with the hearing or a direct access barrister.
Filling out court forms accurately and correctly is vital to setting the tone and trajectory of your case. Get it wrong, and the court might miss an important step or allocate it to the wrong level of judge.
Our professional team will take on this task for you, ensuring everything is done correctly.
We will also collaborate with you to draft your statements, witness and position. These are essential documents, and cases turn on not only what is written but also how it is written. In the alternative, we take your own draft and make alterations to present your best case at every opportunity.
A typical case will accumulate Up to 350 pages of documents over the duration. Keeping that in a meaningful order is very important.
For this reason, unless the other party is preparing it, we will maintain an up-to-date court bundle. This will be submitted before every hearing, so the judge has all the case papers available.
We will schedule the workload on your case, so we have consultancy sessions booked to collaborate on your statements.
We will also advise you on what things you need to do and by when. This keeps you an effective litigant-in-person who takes the correct steps…with the proper guidance.
There is an art to writing a good statement. A case can be won or lost on poorly written documents.
For this reason, we prefer to oversee the draft for you, in complete collaboration with you. This ensures quality control throughout the process.
If you prefer to write your own statements, we will support you in communicating your issues effectively and in the right way, guiding you to keep inflammatory language toned down.
We consider our relationship with you as teamwork. Together we get your case across in the most palatable ways.
Case preparation and case management are very similar. However, it is crucial to prioritise the issues when preparing your court case.
Unfortunately, too many litigants-in-person take the wrong emphasis on the issues that the court needs to sort out. And this is driven by the many failed toxic relationships because parents incorrectly bring more adult-to-adult issues than issues between the adult and the welfare of the child.
In ‘Children Act’ matters, the court’s paramount consideration is the child's welfare. And it is, therefore, inherent to guide the court through issues correctly, focusing on the impact on the child and family rather than as a social exercise in relationship counselling.
Rest assured, you are in good hands and will be fully supported to make the right impact with your case!
Cafcass is the interface between the court and your child. Children are generally not directly involved in ‘Children Act’ matters.
As social workers, Cafcass professionals will liaise with you at various stages in your case, especially at the very beginning. But their time is limited, and it is essential to focus on the relevant issues to get the most effective outcome in your case.
We support you in communicating with Cafcass effectively. We brief you on the issues you need to consider relevant and help you create a bullet point plan you can follow when you are interviewed.
It is worth you checking out our blog on Cafcass safeguarding because, just like the court, Cafcass’ primary objective is the child’s welfare. If a party speaks negatively or disrespectfully about the adult-to-adult issues, this can send the wrong message to Cafcass about your priorities.
If Cafcass consider your grievance with your ex to get in the way of being able to co-parent your child effectively, this will reflect in their court recommendations.
Our guidance is part of our support package for all our clients.
We can support you in drafting correspondence with local authorities and other related professionals.
We provide writing support to our non-UK national clients where English is not the first language.
In a perfect world, the court keeps a court bundle; therefore, your entire case paperwork is available to the judge for each hearing.
However, in reality, with the family court system so backlogged, judicial continuity is becoming much rarer.
And sometimes, such as at Dartford and Medway courts, a different court, such as Canterbury, is called upon to service a hearing. This can mean the court’s own bundle does not make it in time for your hearing.
With court hearings being about four months apart, we cannot risk an ineffectual hearing where decisions are held up by the judge not having the correct case files in front of them.
As part of our standard service, unless the other party is preparing a court bundle, we will prepare one for you. This is a chargeable activity but a necessary one.