Updates from the Bench

Make Every Hearing Count

  |   Latest News, Updates from the Bench

On 9th March 2022 the Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division published his most recent “View from the President’s Chambers”.


The View, and the associated Case Management Guidance, focusses on making every hearing count: i.e. reducing the number of hearings in every case, ensuring that every hearing is effective and consequently reducing the overall length of proceedings.  The Case Management Guidance is essential reading for all public law practitioners and is available to download below.


The View sets out comprehensively the current state of the family justice system and explains the ongoing programmes of reform across both the public and private children law spheres, the Financial Remedies Court and the Court of Protection.  The pilot scheme PD36Z (amending PD12B) is also available to download below.






The most recent updates to the Family Procedure Rules can be accessed here: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/family


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New Case Management Templates

  |   Latest News, Updates from the Bench

Leicester DFJ Her Honour Judge George recognises that the standard PLO case management templates for case summaries and advocates’ meeting minutes were difficult to use.


She has therefore approved the use of updated versions with immediate effect.  Practitioners will hopefully find them more convenient to navigate and format.  The templates are available below or from our INFORMATION CENTRE to download and save.


LA Case Summary

AVM Minutes Urgent Hearing

AVM Minutes CMH

AVM Minutes IRH

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Newsletter August 2021

  |   Latest News, Updates from the Bench

DFJ HHJ George has circulated her latest Newsletter which reiterates the strict requirement to comply with PD27A for the provision of bundles, including the need for the bundle to be filed two working days prior to the hearing.


Don’t say you weren’t warned!


The newsletter can be downloaded here.

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View from the President’s Chambers – July 2021

  |   Latest News, Updates from the Bench

Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, has released his latest “View”.  He focuses on the courts’ cautious road map for recovery following Covid restrictions being eased, and advocates continued flexibility for remote working alongside in-person hearings for the foreseeable future.


The President sets out updates on the various ongoing programmes of reform within the Family Court, as well as the nationwide rolling-out of the FDAC pathway.


The View can be downloaded here.

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Newsletter May 2021 and Standard Form Orders

  |   Education & Training, Latest News, Updates from the Bench

Leicester DFJ HHJ George’s May 2021 Newsletter is available to download here:

Please note that, sadly, due to the lifting of Covid restrictions having been delayed for a further four weeks, the picnic has been postponed until Friday 23rd July at 4:30pm.

The new standard orders and templates which follow the recommendations of the Public Law Working Group are available for download from the Public Law area of our INFORMATION CENTRE.

HHJ George encourages all public law practitioners to watch the recent FLBA webinar presented by the Honourable Mr Justice Keehan and Hannah Markham QC (FLBA Vice Chair, The 36 Group), including a summary of the Special Guardianship Reforms presented by Dr John Simmonds (Director of Policy, Research and Development, CoramBAAF), chaired by Leslie Samuels QC.

The webinar is accessible here with the password 5tq$wO%5:

FLBA Case Management and Template Orders Webinar

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Newsletter December 2020

  |   Education & Training, Latest News, Updates from the Bench

Leicester DFJ HHJ George’s December 2020 Newsletter is available to download here:

HHJ George addresses a number of important topics including the delayed launch of the FLP digital care platform, procedures for remote hearings, the allocation of public law cases to the non-standard track and the local adoption of the recommendations of the Private Law Working Group with respect to FHDRAs. The Newsletter also includes useful links to the PLWG SGO Final Report, the report of the Working Group on Medical Experts and the Family Solutions Group “What about me?” report, among others.

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Local wellbeing consultation

  |   Latest News, Updates from the Bench

HHJ George has today published a draft local practice guidelines which are intended to improve the wellbeing of those working under pressure within the family justice system.

The guidelines can be downloaded here.

HHJ George invites responses to the proposed document, which is currently under consultation. Any responses should be addressed for the attention of Justine Blackwell at family.leicester.countycourt@justice.gov.uk before 6th September 2019.

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Wellbeing, working groups and witness services: HHJ George’s June 2019 Newsletter

  |   Latest News, Updates from the Bench

Leicester DFJ HHJ George’s latest Newsletter contains essential reading for all family justice practitioners.

Her Honour anticipates the introduction of a Local Working Practice Protocol in respect of wellbeing in the coming months, which will be welcome news for all. Nevertheless, Leicester still falls well behind the national average for time taken to conclude care proceedings, so a new 100-Day checklist has been introduced to enable the Court and parties to identify potential delays – and hopefully address them – at an early stage. The checklist will be available for download from our INFORMATION CENTRE.

Local practitioners will also be buoyed by the news that the Citizen’s Advice service will soon be launching a dedicated witness service for those who have experienced domestic abuse and who are facing the Family Court unrepresented. Volunteers will be available daily at Wellington Street to advise and assist litigants in person, who can also access a separate waiting area if necessary. Requests for assistance can be made on the day of the hearing, or referrals may be made in advance. Further information, including a referral form, may be accessed here. The service will be available from 1st July 2019.

The Newsletter also helpfully collates the President’s recent practice guidance in respect of short-form orders, reporting restrictions and Special Guardianship Orders.

The Newsletter can be downloaded in full here.

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President’s Guidance on use of Short Form Orders

  |   Latest News, Updates from the Bench

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued new guidance on the form of orders to be used in family proceedings, to take immediate effect.

Entirely unsurprisingly, following the release of the standard form orders 12 months ago, it has transpired that the production of lengthy court orders on every occasion is taking both lawyers, judges and legal advisers an inordinate amount of time. The orders have also proved impossible for litigants in person to use. Despite agreeing with the “laudable intentions” of the previous President in introducing the standard form orders, given the extreme pressure on the Family Court system at present, the standard form orders are no longer required.

The standard form order will still be required for the first hearing only. Thereafter, the order may take the “old style” short form, to include the following information only:

  1. A record of who attended and their representation;
  2. A recital of the issues determined at the hearing;
  3. A record of any agreement or concession made during the hearing;
  4. A recital of the issues that remain outstanding; and
  5. The text of any orders that were made.

The full text of the President’s Guidance can be downloaded here.

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