Hot off the press from Devon’s Financial Remedy Judges is a protocol for dealing with Financial Remedy work during the current public health emergency. It provides that:
- FDAs currently listed will remain in the list as telephone hearings.
- New FDAs will be listed as telephone hearings for the foreseeable future.
- Parties are encouraged to agree directions for FDA wherever possible, using the accelerated written process for FDAs (see the fourth schedule to the FRC good practice protocol). In practice, paper-based disposals of FDAs have been with us for a long time and will continue.
- FDRs listed for a date within the next 21 days will be adjourned. This will give parties/representatives some breathing space to take stock both in terms of the practicalities and the economics of their case.
- FDRs which are adjourned in this way, will be listed for a telephone directions hearing on the first open date after 21 days. The hearing will be used to discuss whether an individual case is ready to proceed to an FDR and, if so, how that is best achieved remotely.
- Cases with FDR listings beyond 21 days will remain in the list as telephone directions hearings as per paragraph 5 above.
- Private FDRs are to be encouraged but cannot be directed (other than by consent).
- Final hearings listed, should be given a telephone appointment as soon as possible to consider whether a remote final hearing is possible (and, if so, the appropriate directions) or, if not, to adjourn.
Magdalen Chambers is very much open for business during the emergency. All Family Team members are confidently working remotely using a variety of platforms including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype for Business and, by telephone.
Our Financial Remedy practitioners are committed to ensuring that Financial Remedy cases continue to be resolved during the crisis. We are able to offer a variety of services, including:
- Video conferences at home or in our video suite in Chambers.
- Private FDRs with a part-time or retired judge acting as FDR judge. These hearings are very well suited to being conducted remotely and with less delay than waiting for a court hearing.
- Our experienced financial remedy practitioners remain available to represent clients at FDAs, FDRs and final hearings remotely. Our experience convinces us that most cases (including final hearings) can be conducted in this way.
- Advising clients in writing and in conference.
- Early neutral evaluation – where both parties jointly instruct a single agreed barrister to advise on an appropriate settlement or on a specific issue in a case.
Please contact our clerks for more information.