Arising from Pauffley J’s decision in Re NL, which set out that it was no longer permissable for Justices Facts and Reasons to be drafted by the parties, or any of the parties, in agreed or not opposed cases, some guidance has been published by the Justices Clerks society, endorsed by the President of the Family Division.
Click to access Family-_Provision_of_Justices__Reasons_in_uncontested_cases_March_2014.pdf
It is fairly short, but in a nutshell
Under no circumstances should any of the parties be involved in drafting the Reasons.
The Court should never ask any party to supply draft Reasons to be adapted
It is fine for parties to provide their own position statements setting out their case, including submissions on the legal principles and how they say that that facts of the case relate to those legal principles
It is fine for the Court to refer to those position statements and as appropriate facts may be adopted (they give as an example “The factual background of this case is as set out in the Local Authority position statement dated…”)
Any contested issues must be identified and the reasons for the Court deciding on a particular course of action or order arising must be set out
The length and complexity of the reasons will depend on the circumstances of the case
The guidance confirms that this applies to private law as well as public law.
“In every case, even when the order is said to be agreed or where there is no active opposition, there is still a judicial task to perform. Justices must ensure that not only justice is done but also that it is seen to be done”
Does this mean that the ‘practice’ of the LA solicitor writing out ‘agreements’ and forcing parents to sign is no longer valid?
No, this is about something else entirely. This is clearing up that even in a case where the parties in a case all agree that something should be done, the Court is not a rubber stamp for their agreement and has to decide for themselves whether what is proposed is right.
But anyone who is being asked to sign an agreement should decide first whether they actually agree with it. If you don’t mean to stick to it, or don’t think you can, you shouldn’t sign it. The worst that can happen then is that you argue about it before a Court and the Court decides whether what is being asked of you is fair and reasonable. Whereas if you sign something you don’t intend to stick to, that can make things very messy for you later.
That sounds ok in principle…..but in reality? Parents get told ‘sign and agree or never see your child again.’ Are you trying to say that the ‘Court’ must actually listen and not just ‘rubber stamp’; that is Parents will be listened to and be able to say ‘That is factually false and I/We can prove it!’ Parents are put on the spot and given minutes to make a decision….this sounds like a can of worms has been opened and it will not be pretty. TC
Of course it’s fine for the parties to file position statements setting all that out – and of course it’ll be fine for the court to direct that they do. And there’s the case summary anyway. Plus presumably each court will have a standard form for the clerk, to incorporate references to the court record for who attended and what documents are filed, Arts 6 and 8, welfare being paramount and a [ ] for the page the sw welfare checklist is on.
Oh, and the word “proportionate” will be in there somewhere.
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Why didn’t my LA tell me I could draft agreements and force parents to sign them by telling them to ‘sign and agree or never see your child again’? I will ask for the relevant training tomorrow.
Well, I’m glad that you received training on how to be a dick that is certainly something. While I don’t believe in SS being evil. I do believe in having tact and not antagonizing people.
Aww, bless. Maybe I will ask for training in being a tough talking, keyboard warrior with little regard for grammar, too.
I think you meant as well at the end. Perhaps you are too confused by the English language? That would be the proper way to use the word ‘too’.
One can use either; they are interchangeable in this instance.
If you are going to correct someone’s grammar, it would help if you knew what you were talking about.
I see they don’t teach SWs proper English syntax.
“As well” means “equally well”, not “too.” In recent times people have confused its meaning. In proper English, the following two constructions have different shades of meaning:
“Jack speaks German. He speaks English, too.” (Jack speaks both languages–“too” is additive).
“Jack speaks German. He speaks English as well.” (Jack speaks them equally well–“as well” is comparative).
As for the free lesson, you are welcome.
Oh, Matty… Bless you. God may love a trier but I certainly don’t.
I don’t know what they teach social workers. However, I do know that the adverb ‘as well’ is similar in meaning to ‘as well as’ and is often used as an alternative to ‘too’ and that both ‘as well’ and ‘too’ are used at the end of the sentence.
It is 2014 and you are wrong; it’s time to put down the ‘ye olde guide to…’ book and move on, Matty. Let it go, it’s over. Stop embarrassing yourself.
The real lesson here, Matty, is the next time you get a bit of sand in your vagina, you should step away from your keyboard, take a few deep breaths and engage in another activity. I know the anonymity of the internet emboldens people like you to seek confrontations you would not dare to seek in real life, for fear being treated like the human piñata you are, once again.
I suspect now is the perfect opportunity to put that lesson into practice, Matty. Do yourself a favour and move on.