The President’s new PD on DV was circulated last week. Whilst I don’t think it does anything other than codify existing best practice (admittedly often departed from by some individual members of the judiciary or some local courts) it is a helpful document for both lawyers and – I think – litigants. Whilst the PD is not written for litigants themselves, and is therefore framed in more lawyerly terms than some might choose, I think many litigants might be assisted by understanding the general framework and approach into which their own case is being fitted. Many litigants (whether victim or alleged perpetrator) don’t understand the basic premises upon which the courts’ approach to dealing with allegations of violence are resting. Often litigants are in person or do not have this adequately explained to them by their lawyers and they see only delay rather than the purpose behind it, see only unfairness rather than the twin aims of fairness and best interests which underpin everything.
Of course the system has its critics who will say that those aims are not achieved, and that may often be right, but I still think it may be useful for litigants in person to see the PD themselves so that they are not completely at see. So, here it is: final-signed-version-of-domestic-violence-pd-9th-may-2008.