Financial Remedies Working Group Report
The Group was chaired by Mostyn J and Cobb J and consisted of members of the judiciary and other practitioners.
The Group’s final primary recommendations – after having considered all responses to the consultation process – can be summarised as follows:
- There should be one unified procedure for all financial relief applications, including applications for financial orders on divorce and under Children Act Schedule 1. There should be only one Form E and one/two Form A;
- Once an application has been made by one party, all applications are deemed to have been made by both parties. This has the consequence of allowing the Judge to make any order necessary, and removes the requirement to make any formal application for dismissal purposes only;
- A requirement that an FDR is conducted in every case, save for in truly exceptional circumstances. There should be an enhanced power for Judges to require that a First Appointment is conducted as an FDR, even if the parties have not indicated readiness. Courts should amend listing procedures to accommodate this;
- A pilot accelerated First Appointment procedure, where directions can be agreed prior to the hearing, to be implemented nationally under the FPR;
- The procedure for re-opening first instance orders to be clarified under the FPR (further work is being done on this);
- Clarification is required for the procedure and allocation of applications for financial relief following an overseas divorce;
- Final hearings are to be made more efficient and the previous Statement on the Efficient Conduct of Final Hearings by Mostyn J to be implemented nationally for all final hearings of three or more days. The Group reiterated that scrupulous adherence to PD27A (bundles) is required at all times and that Single Joint Experts should always be preferred;
- Costs sanctions for litigation misconduct pursuant to FPR 28.3 ought to be more widely used, including against Litigants in Person;
- The Family Procedure Rules Committee should consider costs issues further, including judicial cost-capping and fixed-price costing;
- Financial remedy applications should be “de-linked” from the divorce/dissolution suit;
- The Group maintained its earlier recommendations regarding Litigants in Person (see the full chapter in the Interim Report);
- A number of standard-form orders are to be adopted.
The full report can be downloaded here.