Applications for financial
relief after an oversees divorce
The FRWG maintains the position from its interim report that FPR, r 8.25(1) should
be amended so as to clarify that applications under Matrimonial and Family
Proceedings Act 1984 should normally be made without notice. It is understood that the FPRC has considered
this issue and an amendment has been agreed which is likely to be implemented
in April 2015.
A further recommendation is made in the final report to amend the FPR to
specifically confirm the power of the
court to transfer cases under the MFPA 1984 to appropriate Family Court
locations once the leave stage has been completed, as demonstrated by Holman J
v Barnett  EWHC 2678 (Fam),  Fam Law 1518. Furthermore, the report recommends that the
issue of the level of judge who can grant leave in such applications should be
determined by a district judge as part of the usual box-work exercise.
Efficient conduct of final hearings
The report maintains the recommendation from the interim report that the
provisions of the Statement
on the efficient conduct of financial remedy final hearings allocated to be
heard by a High Court judge whether sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice or
elsewhere of 5 June 2014 should be implemented in final hearings of financial
remedies cases listed for 3 days or more.
The final report particularly draws attention
to the decision of Mostyn J in J v
J  EWHC 3654 (Fam) particularly dealing with the issues of the instruction of single joint
experts and the need to follow PD27A in preparing bundles.
costs in financial applications
Costs were not specifically addressed in the
interim report. However, taking on board
Mostyn J’s decision in J v J, the final report deals with the issue. The report confirms that the FRWG is opposed
to the reintroduction of the Calderbank system.
However, it was noted that FPR, r 28.3 dealing with costs for
litigation misconduct needs to be applied more generally, and equally to
litigants in person.
The report further recommends that Mostyn J’s
suggestion that fixed costs be used in family proceedings should be considered
by the costs working party of the FPRC and that professional bodies such as
Resolution, the Law Society and the Family Law Bar Association be given the
opportunity to engage in discussion.
De-linking Financial Remedy applications
from the divorce/dissolution suit and Choice of court
The recommendations on de-linking and the
ability to make a choice of court in certain circumstances where, for example,
it might be advantageous for the parties to be able to choose the Financial Remedies Unit at the Central
Family Court in London are maintained
from the interim report.
in person and McKenzie Friends
The recommendations relating to litigants in
person are maintained from the interim report.
The interim report noted that a McKenzie
Friends Working Group (MFWG) had been set up to report on this area. A draft of the second report of that group is
now under discussion which will specifically deal with the issue of paid
McKenzie Friends. That report was
understood to be scheduled to be finalised and submitted to the Judicial
Executive Board in the second week of December 2014 but its recommendations
were not known at the time the final report of the FRWG was compiled.
Justice Council ‘Matrimonial Needs’ Working Group
The report notes that a guide on ‘needs’
targeted at litigants in person is anticipated in the first half of 2015.
The recommendation in the interim report of
the adoption of the following standard orders is
(a) Financial Remedies Directions Omnibus – Shorter Version;
(b) Financial Remedies Directions Omnibus – Longer Version with index;
(c) Financial Remedies Final Orders Omnibus with index;
(d) Children Act Schedule 1 Final Orders Omnibus with index;
(e) Wardrobe of Enforcement Orders; and
(f) Wardrobe of Committal Orders.
The final report further recommends consideration of the IT issues
involved in making the forms as user friendly as possible, and that work on the
judicial versions of these forms be carried out in the same manner as the CAP
Arbitration in family
The final report maintains the recommendation
from the interim report that CPR PD 62 be amended to include the High Court,
Family Division, that a family equivalent of the form N8 be commissioned that
the guidance set out at
annexe 12 of the interim report be implemented.
Practitioners will note that there are a
number of aspects which will require involvement from other Working Groups,
committees or professional bodies. At
this stage there are no timescales given for implementation of any of these
proposals but practitioners are advised to familiarise themselves with the
recommendations and new procedures which are likely to come into force in the
The standard orders
are available for use now and practitioners should consider familiarising
themselves with these.
Practitioners should also keep an eye on
Family Law for further updates in this area.