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'HMCTS have now provided a document, "Changes to the divorce process in England & Wales: Q & A" . This is extremely useful and is required reading for all family law practitioners.The Law Society is running a further seminar on the centralisation of divorce courts, in Manchester.
We now know a little more detail of the timing of transfer of the rest of divorce work to Bury St Edmunds. Work in my local area, the Thames Valley, including Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes & Slough, will be transferred from the week commencing 29 June.
In the Thames Valley, HMCTS says that, from 29 June all divorce petitions and financial remedy applications should be sent by post to the divorce centre, Bury St Edmunds, with the exception of urgent applications that require issue at the counter. Local courts in the Thames Valley will continue to process applications issued prior to 29 June.
HMCTS adds that the Bury St Edmunds Divorce Centre is the point of entry once work is transferred there, as much has been already, for London and the South East. If a hearing is required this can be listed at a local hearing centre and court users will have the opportunity to indicate where the hearing should take place, for example, at the same court as any Children Act application, more locally to where the parties reside, or at a more central location when the parties live in completely different areas. The petition is likely to be amended by the end of September with a box added to indicate the petitioner’s preference of court if a hearing is necessary.
'Transfer of work from London was planned for June but is not likely to occur until the week commencing 20 July”, said Roe. 'The intention is that the Central Family Court will concentrate on local and complex matters. I understand that the criteria for complexity are being finalised imminently and will be made available soon.'
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