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Georgina's Blog



November 2020

And on and on it goes...

Yes, I am referring to Coronavirus. One of the upticks as a consequence of the virus is that it has put a tremendous strain on many relationships. As these relationships unravel there has been more call for court intervention. No doubt you will have heard how there is an unconscionable backlog of cases in all the courts and the Family Courts are no exception. To that end, many of the judges are becoming very frustrated by the sort of thing they are seeing coming to court - cases that really should have been settled elsewhere. They are trying to encourage lawyers to steer their clients away from litigation towards other methods of dispute resolution.....enter mediation. Below are some quotes from judges in their judgements. You can hear the tone of exasperation.

"I give these examples of similar requests for micro-management that have arisen before me in the past month: i) At which junction of the M4 should a child be handed over for contact? ii) Which parent should hold the children's passports (in a case where there was no suggestion that either parent would detain the children outside the jurisdiction?) iii) How should contact be arranged to take place on a Sunday afternoon? Other judges have given me many other, similar examples."

"Therefore, the message in this judgment to parties and lawyers is this, as far as I am concerned. Do not bring your private law litigation to the Family court here unless it is genuinely necessary for you to do so. You should settle your differences (or those of your clients) away from court, except where that is not possible. If you do bring unnecessary cases to this court, you will be criticised, and sanctions may be imposed upon you. There are many other ways to settle disagreements, such as mediation."

Enough said!

Case: Re B (A Child) (Unnecessary Private Law Applications), Re [2020] EWFC B44

(Source: Baillie, 25th September 2020)