A few days ago I shared an update that the President of the Family Court has announced the production of draft family law orders better suited to Litigants-in-Person (parents who represent themselves in court). The intentions are positive and include better consistency across the court service and wording aimed at the non-technical.
Hopefully the new judicial templates will cut down on some of the poor practice we see, including filing dates being left off directions, and warning notices being omitted (despite their inclusion being a statutory requirement).
The President, in his announcement, seeks to address the resistance which exists to change, which included complaints that previous draft court orders issued in early 2014 were apparently too difficult for some to use. Others complained that the standard drafts were too long. As mentioned above, trusting people to include the right wording in orders is fine in theory, but in practice this resulted in mistakes being made and omissions. To help ease in the change, the President has also had prepared a tick list of potential order wording which allows a judge/court staff to quickly select the wording they wish included in the order.
The President’s announcement does miss something though. It’s not uncommon for McKenzie Friends to be asked to draft court orders. Where the judge regularly sees the McKenzie Friend in court, and is confident in their ability, this happens sometimes even when the other party is represented (yes, really!).
All well and good to make the draft order wording available within the court service, and widening publication to the Bar and Law Society, but what about McKenzie Friends?
This is where we step in. The draft order wording is now available within our Draft Court Orders section of our Family Law App. The ‘tick list’ wording can be downloaded as a PDF and is also available via the link picture below: