For the attention of His/Her Honour Judge _____________
RE: The ______________ Children Case number ______________
I am writing to apply on behalf of the Local Authority for an extension of time for the filing of final evidence. This evidence was due to be filed by Friday 25th October at 4.00pm. It is possible that the Local Authority will not be able to file this evidence until 4.21pm on Friday 25th October, and as a result of the Court of Appeal decision in Re W, I now have to apply to the Court for an extension to that deadline before it expires.
In large part, the reason for the deadline potentially being missed as that as a result of the Court of Appeal decisions in Re G, Re B-S and Re W (no, a different one) all of which are attached, stringent new requirements on what must go into the Local Authority evidence have arrived in rapid succession, and therefore not only is it taking social workers longer to write statements incorporating a wholly different way of analysing the welfare checklist, comparing the various options for placement and having to devise five care plans instead of one, it is also taking me longer as a lawyer to check those statements against the various requirements of Court of Appeal decisions which are coming at the rate of one per week.
In order to make this application, I have prepared a C2 form, raised a cheque, drafted an order showing how the delay will affect the timetable (hint, I have broadly taken the existing timetable and every time it said “4.00pm” I have changed that to “4.21pm”. I also had to contact the three other parties to share this with them, they all had to obtain instructions and then send me a signed copy of the draft order back. Fortuitously, every single one of them was in when they got my message, and their clients answered the phone calls and gave them prompt instructions. How wonderful.
Despite this being a consent order, it is still subject to judicial scrutiny and the Court is of course not a rubber stamp, so I have made provision for an hour of consideration (taking into account that the file has to be brought up, the matter looked at and an order drawn up and sent out). The very latest moment the application could be lodged was therefore 3.00pm.
As the Court office is not responsive after 2.00pm due to staffing cuts and austerity, I had to ensure that the order was lodged with the Court by 1.00pm, however as that is the lunchhour, I moved that back to 12.00pm. I was then informed that the Judges all sit from 10.00 until 1.00 and cannot be disturbed, so I invented a time machine and went back in time so that the application was formally lodged with the Court by 9.00am on Friday. That meant knowing that it was needed by Thursday afternoon, to give me time to get consents from all the other parties. Luckily, with my time machine, I knew a day and a half before the document was due that it would be 21 minutes late. [However, I also peeked into the future and read your judgment from the final hearing, so I had some more tweaks to make to the statement, so it will be 4.22 pm now. Shall we start over, or are we just going to be cool about the additional minute?]
Thank you for your attention and I look forward to seeing the draft order approving the extension, which will of course arrive at 3.59pm or before.
[Dear Suesspicious Minds, I hear you have been doing those Sarcasm Managment Courses with “Living Without Sarcasm” – how are they working out?
Oh, they’re AMA-Z-ING ]
Apropos of absolutely nothing, here’s a beautiful painting of a roman emperor