A New Case Management System has been launched for courts in the East Midlands Circuit in respect of private children law proceedings.

A meeting took place on 1st February 2024 for the launch of this system. Mrs Justice Lieven confirmed how the purpose of implementing this new system is to ensure better outcomes for the children involved in these proceedings.

It is important within proceedings that the children’s wishes and feelings are at the forefront of all parties’ minds. It will now therefore be implemented into private law proceedings that all children over 12 years of age should be spoken to with their views where possible.

The Courts will now be aiming to resolve private law cases as early as possible. Her Honour Judge Harris confirmed that there would be a greater emphasis on gatekeeping by the Court to reduce litigation between parents. It is hoped that through this process, cases which would be suitable for alternate dispute resolution can be identified. A dedicated website is under construction for parents to access to obtain further information. This should assist to empower parents to come to resolutions without the need for acrimonious litigation through the Court.

It is of paramount importance to the Courts that proceedings are completed within a set timeframe. Court proceedings are likely to be stressful for all involved and it is therefore in the best interest of all parties that proceedings are not taking place for longer than is necessary. The plan is for all cases in private law which do not involve a fact-find hearing to conclude within 25 weeks. Should a fact-find hearing be taking place, cases should conclude within 40 weeks.

The new system appears to focus on empowering parents and ensuring they are given the support necessary to make the correct decisions for the children. The aim is to assist parents in focusing on the children’s wants and needs and encourage a better co-parenting relationship between them. The new system also requests that Cafcass Schedule 2 letters will have more robust advice and recommendations. This will assist in shortening proceedings and ensuring both parents understand what is being advised and what is believed to be the best outcome for the children.

The new system will be implemented across East Midlands Courts very soon. The changes are positive and it is hoped they will make the process of a Court application easier for parents and the children.

Should you require any advice or support in respect of private children law proceedings, please do not hesitate to contact our Children Department.


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