|The parties should arrive 1 hour
before the hearing time. On arrival, you and your
McKenzie Friend should book in at the reception
or with the court usher. Your McKenzie Friend
will present his / her CV. If a position
statement has been completed, this should also be
submitted. The McKenzie Friend may also have to
complete the courts own McKenzie Friend
Friend will then identify the presence of the
other party and whether they are represented.
Once they have been identified, a copy of their
CV and any 'Position Statements' will be
exchanged with the other side in advance of
speaking to the Cafcass Officer.
You and your McKenzie Friend will
then wait for the interview with the Cafcass
officer. The Cafcass Officer will usually speak
to the applicant first.
When you are interviewed, your
McKenzie Friend has a right to be present to
support you. However, if the other side is
represented with a lawyer, the Cafcass officer is
unlikely to allow their lawyer to be present.
Your McKenzie Friend will hand a
copy of their CV and your position statement to
the Cafcass Officer. This will assist them to
understand the issues.
Please note that
The FHDRA is not privileged. That is to say that
what is said at the FHDRA may be referred to at
later court hearings.
officer, will seek to assist the parties in
resolving all or any of the issues between them.
Once the Cafcass officer has
spoken to both parties, you attend court with the
Cafcass officer.Usually, the Cafcass Officer
informs the court of any progress and outlines
the main issues between the two parties, any
safeguarding issues and provides recommendations
as to whether interim contact should be
considered and whether a Section 7 / Impact
Analysis Report is needed.
As part of the
case management the court will consider:
(a) What, if
any, issues are agreed and what are the key
issues to be determined?
b) Should the
matter be listed for a fact-finding hearing?
(c) Are there
any interim orders which can usefully be made
(e.g. indirect, supported or supervised contact)
pending Dispute Resolution Appointment or final
directions are required to ensure the application
is ready for a Dispute Resolution Appointment or
final hearing - statements, reports etc?
the application be listed for a Dispute
Resolution Appointment (it is envisaged that most
cases will be so listed)?
the application be listed straightaway for a
continuity should be actively considered
(especially if there has been or is to be a Fact
Finding hearing or a contested interim hearing).
Allocation decision will be considered by the
(b) If it is
necessary to transfer the case to another court
within the DFJ area or another area, or
re-allocate it, the court shall state the reasons
for transfer / re-allocation and shall
specifically make directions for the next hearing
in the court.
than a final order)
Where no final
agreement is reached, and the court is required
to give case management directions, the following
shall be included on the order:
(a) the date, time and venue of the next hearing;
(b) whether the author of any section 7 report is
required to attend the hearing, in order to give
(c) such other matters as may be included.
The next hearing, the Dispute Resolution
Appointment (DRA), is typically listed 3 months
later. If Cafcass are to prepare a Section 7
Report, then this usually needs to be filed and
copies served on each party within 8 weeks.
At the conclusion
of the hearing, it is always good practice to
find a quiet area for your McKenzie Friend to
debrief the hearing with you and to plan any next
steps and agree on a timetable of actions.
The hearing lasts
for about 20 minutes.
If you have any
questions or would like the assistance of a
McKenzie Friend at your DRA, please visit
www.mckenziefrienduk.net or contact 01420 370770.