InsightsInsight - Family and Divorce - POSTED: April 13 2018
Specialist financial remedy courts
The president of the family division Sir James Munby recently proposed the introduction of specialist financial remedy courts. Mei-Ling McNab explains the purpose of the proposal
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The president of the family division Sir James Munby recently proposed the introduction of specialist financial remedy courts. This proposal seeks to further separate divorce and financial proceedings, and ensure complicated financial cases are dealt with by experienced, specialist judges with a thorough knowledge of financial remedy proceedings.
In the midst of divorce, couples will typically face the situation whereby they also need to resolve financial matters following the breakdown of their marriage. Though clients often approach solicitors with the expectation that dealing with the divorce and financial aspects are one and the same, this is not the case. Divorce proceedings are in fact separate from financial proceedings.
At present and adding to the confusion, divorce and financial proceedings, although separate, are often dealt with by the same court. Furthermore, financial proceedings can be a particularly complicated area, and currently, judges with little family law experience can be required to determine complex financial remedy cases. This has led to calls for specialist courts and judges to deal with these cases.
Sir James Munby’s proposal states that each geographical region of the court system, known as ‘circuits’, will have two regional hubs and be headed up by a lead judge expert in financial remedy work. Financial proceedings hearings will then be conducted at one of these hubs, as well as at financial remedy hearing centres within the hub area.
Specialist financial remedy courts are being piloted in London, the West Midlands and south-east Wales as of February this year. Additional pilots are then to follow in the Midlands, the north-east and south-east. Therefore it is likely that the introduction of these courts will shortly impact the financial remedy process for those living in and around the south-east.
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