To CAP it all off…

[NEWSFLASH!! I now have word versions sent from the court, so we can count these as official. Herewith:





I’m NOT NOT NOT going to rant about the rubbish media coverage of the Single Family Court today. *grumpyface*

I am simply going to assist the court in furthering the overriding objective (free and gratis) by making the CAP forms available, since nobody appears to be able to find them online. *sardonic grin*

After all, we wouldn’t want the transition to be anything less than seamless….

CAP01 (Directions on allocation / gatekeeping)

CAP02 (Order at FHDRA* / Directions)

CAP03 (Order at DRA**)

CAP04 (Final order)

You’re welcome, Single Family Court. *martyr face*

NB : It is possible that these documents are working drafts, which accounts for the fact nobody has been able to locate them online – if I find that to be the case I will update this post. They should be a useful working tool for those in court in the meantime (although not as useful as if they were in .doc format and we could actually edit them for drafting purposes!).

* first hearing dispute resolution appointment

** dispute resolution appointment

More LASPO Gloom

An Ad Hoc Statistical release by the MoJ that doesn’t mention fat cats…. (h/t @LAWrixon)

This one is about LASPO s10 exceptional funding applications.

Because we like to “add value” (barf) here at PT, I can share the following depressing nuggets with you :

I calculate that for the period April – December 2013 ….

  • Only 3% of applications were successful.
  • 54% of all s10 applications were for family cases.
  • 0.69% of all the applications granted were family – disproportionately low.
  • Family applications had a success rate of 1.29% (the overall success rate of 3% is skewed by a high 15% success rate for inquests with every other category faring far worse. Immigration had a success rate of 1.6% for example.
  • 5.38% of applications were made by individuals without the assistance of a solicitor. Of the 62 such applications, all were rejected or refused, bar one which was withdrawn and one which received a “positive preliminary assessment”. I call that a success rate of NIL. The Guidance suggests that the process is sufficiently straightforward to enable litigants to complete these applications without the assistance of a solicitor but the figures do not bear this out – individuals are not applying in great numbers, and when they do they are FAILING. Given these figures – why would solicitors put in the work? They are almost bound to fail.
  • 14.5% of the applications made by individuals were family applications. They all failed, bar the positive preliminary assessment.

The statistical release says of family applications, predominantly private law children (on page 4) “The overarching question to consider is whether the withholding of legal aid would make the assertion of the claim practically impossible or lead to an obvious unfairness in proceedings.” Whilst I recognise that s10 is by definition meant to be an exceptional provision, I’m not sure that I think that is a satisfactory gloss or even a precis of s10 and the relevant regulations and guidance. I think it sets the test too high, as is rather borne out by the figures.

Judiciary v MoJ

The Senior Judiciary’s response to the recent MoJ consultation on fees is a humdinger.

Parliament is referenced 28 times in 80 paragraphs.

Pa 2:

The Judiciary’s response to this Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Consultation is predicated on the fact the Government does not accept this position and intends to ask Parliament to render the justice system self-financing. As has long been made clear there is a fundamental question as to whether the court system which benefits the economy and society as a whole should be financed by those whose use of it benefits not simply themselves but society as a whole. Ultimately it must be for Parliament to decide whether access to justice and hence the maintenance of the rule of law are to be self-financing. Under our constitution issues of taxation and expenditure are the province of Parliament.

pa 10:

While the Consultation Paper opens with a clear acknowledgement of the role of the courts, the bulk of the Paper, the proposals it contains and the prevailing approach appear to be based on a view that recourse to the courts is a matter of discretionary spending by those who can afford to and should pay its full cost and, in some cases, more than its full cost. It must be a matter for Parliament to consider how these two conflicting principles should be reconciled.

pa 24:

In summary, the proposals, particularly the novel concept of enhanced fees, give rise to major issues of policy which require public debate:

(i)  How is the position of the courts in providing access to justice for all and maintaining the rule of law for the benefit of all to be reconciled with the proposition that they should be financed only by those who actually use them?

(ii)  Should those who use the civil (non-family) courts subsidise those who use the family courts?

(iii)  Should fee remissions for those who cannot afford to pay fees be financed by other users of the courts?

These are issues of policy which it will be for Parliament to decide, but we are concerned that they should be openly acknowledged and explained so that there can be a fully informed debate about them.

On the proposals relating to family the judiciary rightly criticise the proposals to increase the fee for a divorce to a whopping £750.

They point out that as the majority of petitioners are women they would be disproportionately affected by fees that might negatively affect their ability to access justice, thereby depriving them of the legal protection of marriage in future relationships.

What is particularly staggering is that the revenue generated from divorce cases is already £16.8 millions. And that the proposal for increase would generate a further £40.8 million.

And in a polite twist of the knife they point out the *cough* “misconception” about the person who pays the fees of a divorce.

The only thing I can really fault is the heinous reference to custody arrangements.

Goddamit. You remember that Parliament thing you mentioned 28 times? They abolished “custody arrangements” almost as many years ago.