Final report to the President of the Private Law Working Group published

The final report to the President of the Private Law Working Group ('PLWG') upon the Child Arrangements Programme ('CAP') has been published.

Key points:
  • Language of CAP simplified for benefit of LiPs.
  • Glossary added to CAP.
  • PLWG not persuaded that CAP should include a timetable for the child, measured in weeks, as in the revised Public Law Outline.
  • New section in CAP entitled ‘The child in the dispute', emphasising the importance which the parties, Dispute Resolution facilitators, and the Court should attach to the position, and views, of the child in the dispute.
  • Wording of the CAP revised to reflect the message that in-court mediation may not be appropriate.
  • The ‘Signposting Services' section has been moved forward within the CAP, to emphasise its importance.
  • Greater prominence given to parenting plans in the CAP, and guidance expanded in this regard.
  • Where there is a Parenting Plan in existence at the time of a court application, PLWG proposes that this document should be attached to the C100.
  • PLWG concludes that no step could properly be taken by the court to compel attendance of Respondents at MIAMs, absent a change in the Rules.
  • A further provision added to make clear that any Order which follows an emergency ‘without notice' hearing should specify: (a) the reason(s) why the Order has been made without notice to the Respondent, and (b) the outline facts alleged which have been relied on by the Court in making the order, if this is not clearly set out on the face of supporting statement.
  • PLWG unable to reach a consensus on the role of the legal advisers at the FHDRA.
  • New provision for safeguarding checks to be renewed where an application for enforcement is made more than three months after the relevant order.
  • Revised PD12J FPR 2010 prepared in relation to child arrangements cases involving allegations of domestic abuse and harm.
  • If an application is not finally resolved at FHDRA and directions are given for a further hearing, where the parties are both LiPs, HMCTS has agreed - if directed by the court - to prepare a Litigant in Person Bundle for use by the court at subsequent hearings.
  • No specific recommendation in the revised CAP in relation to McKenzie Friends.
  • HMCTS has confirmed that it will in the future serve C100 applications on the respondent.
  • The revised CAP includes the promised section on enforcement.
  • CAP flowchart modified slightly.