Promises Promises

The Sixth View from the President’s Chambers has been cascaded upon us, like a refreshing rain shower. Apart from the standard 26 week / Single Family Court fare there are actual concrete promises on private law. There will be recommendations by 8 November. Not recommendations we will see or that will be implemented by 8 November mind you, but recommendations nonetheless. And since Cobb J is heading up the Private Law Working Group there every likelihood they will be considered and sensible recommendations (although even Cobb J can’t work a miracle). So hurray for that. ‘Bout flippin’ time.

In other good news. We don’t get reported to the Bar Council for use of an ordinal possessive. Yet. Phew. We all misunderstood View 4, which just goes to show how careful you actually DO need to be with your words….Oh the irony… However, we are expected (by implication) to have an ipad or laptop at court, as manuscript tailor made orders are OUT and prescribed electronic templates are IN (or will be soon). Down with Biros, harbingers of delay and inefficiency!

Personally I try to go paper free repeatedly, but revert to manuscript drafting after every abortive and frustrating attempt to draft using my laptop – it cannot and will not work* until there is free wifi in all court buildings (court premises appear to either exist in 3G blackspots or are constructed so as to dampen any 3G signal to the point where you can only send an email if you hang your ipad out the window so wifi is the only way). AND there will still be a need for HMCTS to accommodate printing of hard copies. I for one prefer not to hand my laptop over to opposing counsel with unpredictable clients, complete with all sorts of confidential data on it, so they can take their client through an order.

The President is seeking feedback on assorted issues, in particular transparency and bundles. Bet his secretary is pleased.

* I know I know: it can work it must work it will work.

3 thoughts on “Promises Promises

  1. A Danish friend recently introduced me to the concept of ‘formulism’. New public law processes and electronic templates – especially with regard to the drafting of orders – removes ‘the bespoke’, to replace it with ‘the formula’. My professional life has become a sea of templates. Our creativity, and sensitivity to the particular is evaporating. Pink Tape – you are right. If we have to travel this route, the least we should be offered is the wifi to enable it.

  2. Hi Lucy,
    Haven’t commented for a while as your blogs have been largely on your professions business. However..this is to ask you and to hear your views on the appalling case; details of which for your readers are below..and which i feel sure you are fully aware of:

    Court system violated father’s rights
    “The “systemic failings” of the family justice system violated an “irreproachable” father’s human rights by denying him contact with his daughter over a decade, senior judges have ruled.
    In a ground-breaking judgment the Court of Appeal judges said that they had never encountered a case in which the family justice system had “failed a family so completely”.

    The man, 60, had endured a dozen years of legal battles against his mentally unstable ex-partner who was “implacably hostile” to any contact between him and their daughter.

    The girl, known as M and now nearly 14, was aged 1 when her parents separated in 2001 and the legal marathon began, continuing “almost without interruption” for the next 12 years, appeal judges said. The litigation had “irredeemably marred” the girl’s childhood, they added, and denied her a proper relationship with her father.

    Since 2006 the family courts had made 82 orders to try to break the impasse between the former couple.

    Lord Justice McFarlane ordered a rehearing of the father’s plea for direct contact. The judges also referred the case for investigation to Sir James Munby, the country’s most senior family judge, and to David Norgrove, who chairs a top-level board on family justice.

    Frances Gibb reported the case in The Times online Sept 6th. I’m sure all your readers would be interested in your take on the failure of the entire Family Justice system.

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