Yes, the long awaited research on LiPs is here. I’ve browsed my way through to page fifty eight of two hundred and summink, so I can’t give you chapter and verse yet, but it IS very interesting and so far paints a picture that I recognise (although I think I am blessed to be in a court where the counter staff and ushers are pretty helpful and proactive and the signposting relatively good).
This is pre-LASPO research, carried out in the first quarter of 2013, before the cuts bit. It is intended to provide some kind of bench mark against which to measure changes in future. So far it seems that we were starting from a bit of a low point as far as access to justice for LiPs is concerned. And it can’t have got better even if courts and judges are adapting somewhat to meet the needs of a changing service user population.
Oh. PS Here’s the link to the research : Litigants in Person in Private Family Law Cases (Liz Trinder, Rosemary Hunter, Emma Hitchings, Joanna Miles, Richard Moorhead, Leanne Smith, Mark Sefton, Victoria Hinchly, Kay Bader and Julia Pearce).
The latest installment of a case in which I have been involved is out. You may know it as Q v Q (although it isn’t). The judgment can be found here : C (A Child) (No 2)  EWFC 44 (21 November 2014). As it is a case in which I am involved and which is ongoing I’m not going to comment on the actual case itself.
However – as is the fashion – I will give you a couple of pieces of information, without comment.
You can see from the judgment that Julien Foster, counsel for the Father, acted on his behalf for nothing as have other barristers before him. What you might not know (unless you are someone who does this sort of work) is that I will bill the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) a fixed fee of £206.87 for that hearing, including preparation of the skeleton argument (part of which is set out in the annex) and travel time from Bristol to London and back. I usually take home about 50p in the pound by rule of thumb, taking into account overheads etc. If the LAA decide to quibble over my train fare you can knock £60 or so off that figure.
[PRESIDENTIAL NEWSFLASH 13 OCTOBER 2014 : "Section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (which inserts new sections 1(2A), 1(2B), 1(6) and 1(7) in the Children Act 1989) will come into force on 22 October 2014 - Wednesday next week. Section 11 will NOT apply in respect of proceedings commenced but not disposed of prior to 22 October 2014." ENDS]
If the presumption of parental involvement (A.K.A. s11 Children & Families Act 2014) is really going to be brought into force “in the autumn” as has been suggested – why is it that there is no mention of it in the TWO recent Commencement Orders that relate to that act which set out implementation dates for most of the rest of the act between now and mid 2015??
I think the presumption that this stuff will be implemented is well and truly rebutted. Just as I predicted. Long grass it is I reck’n.