Andrew McFarlane and drafting of Orders in the Family Courts

The president of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued a memorandum setting out the approach for drafting orders in the Family Court, in order to mitigate a number of problems.  Within this memorandum he has issued a warning to family lawyers and other practitioners over the preparation of witness statements and drafting orders.

McFarlane has stated that the drafting of orders in private law had become a highly adversarial and confrontational process, leading to ‘much unnecessary verbiage and great delay’ in producing agreed drafts.

He continues “The first and most basic rule is that where the order follows a hearing its terms (including its recitals) must reflect the result of the hearing, no more, no less.”

McFarlane states………………..

“It is clear that the problem has persisted in the field of private law, both in relation to litigation about children, and about money, and that the preparation of orders has become a highly adversarial and confrontational process leading to much unnecessary verbiage and great delay in the production of agreed drafts.

I have been asked to consider issuing a Practice Direction regulating professional standards in this area.

I do not consider that the Family Court needs such a Practice Direction, at least not at the present time. However, the Family Procedure Rule Committee will have to consider introducing such a measure if the principles in this memorandum are not observed and the non-compliance with elementary principles continues.”

Please see a link to the full memorandum below.