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Changes in precedent orders within private children proceedings…

Posted on 1st March 2016

The President of the Family Division has announced a complete makeover of the standard orders (CAP01 to CAP04) which were used within private children proceedings.

The standard orders being used since 2014 have always been a point of contention within the legal profession as they have been confusing and lengthy, particularly when parties are representing themselves.

The new orders, which came into force in January 2016, are designed to be concise and easy to understand. These changes are widely welcomed, especially due to the increase in litigants in person. The drafting of the new order has been undertaken by a group of District Judges together with AdviceNow [who provide online assistance] who suggested that simpler language be incorporated.

One of the major changes is that the orders are now less rigid as to recitals, leaving it up to the Judge to decide which recitals should be included. In addition all warning notices are now collated on the front page of the order. The previous orders were on certain instances restrictive and the change has made drafting, even for legal professionals, a simpler process.

There are different orders in place for allocation and gatekeeping, case management and enforcement. The President has stated that it is vital that parties leave court with a copy of the order where possible and avers this can be achieved if the template is used.

The Applicant within proceedings will normally draft the order for court and the simplification of the order will be welcomed by both legal professionals as well as litigants in person. It is hopeful that this will assist in the smooth running of court hearings as well as reducing court time and costs. In addition it is hoped that leaving court with a copy of the order will make any post-hearing drafting and agreement of the same less burdensome on all parties involved.

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