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These guides do not in any way represent legal advice.
All guides are produced as a 'layperson' and 'informed friend'.
 
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The Final Hearing
 
 
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THE FINAL HEARING

Disclaimer : This document does is not intended in anyway to constitute legal advice, it is a general information and signposting sheet. References to any persons, details and cases are entirely fictional.

If you have a FInal Hearing, call us today on 01420 370770 for a FREE 1 hr consultation.

For the purposes of this walkthrough you are the applicant attending with your McKenzie Friend

Arrive 1 hr before the court hearing time stated on the Order and meet your McKenzie Friend

Your McKenzie Friend will book you in at reception / with the usher and present a copy of their CV. They will find the legal representative of the other side and also hand them a copy of their CV.


When you are called into court or chambers, the applicant should sit on the left and the respondent on the right. Your McKenzie Friend may sit next to you. If the other side is represented, they will sit behind their barrister.

Refer to Magistrates as ‘Your Worships’ and District Judges as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’.

Circuit Judges are ‘Your Honour’.

If Cafcass are present, the court may allow them to give their evidence first and to be cross examined by both parties. Alternatively, Cafcass may be permitted to sit in court during proceedings to listen to evidence of both parties before giving their evidence.

The Hearing

Step 1: The judge will ask the applicant to take the oath and to then verify their statement as true and accurate and will accept the statement as ‘Evidence in Chief’. This means that the content does not have to be repeated.

Step 2: The Applicant will be asked if there is any new information to add to their statement.

Step 3: The Applicant will then be asked questions by the legal representative of the other side. This is called cross examination. Your McKenzie Friend cannot assist you whilst you are giving evidence.  

Step 4: The Judge / Magistrates may then ask questions.

Step 5: The above steps (1-4) are then repeated for the respondent. Their legal representative will help swear them on oath and ask them to confirm that their statement is true and accurate. The applicant will then be able to ask any questions, with the support of their McKenzie Friend quietly advising them and taking notes.

Note: There may be times when the applicant or respondent is still under oath and giving evidence and the court breaks for lunch. During this period, that parent is not permitted to discuss any aspects of the case with their McKenzie Friend or legal representative. The best position is to separate from each other during the lunch break to prevent any allegations of improper communication.  

Step 6: At the conclusion of all evidence and cross examination, the court will allow both parties to present a summary of their case, also known as submissions. Typically, this can last anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour. This provides both parties to highlight any aspects of the evidence that supports their case, to clarify anything that may have not been fully presented or understood, to state what they are seeking and why their proposal is reasonable. The lawyer will do this for the other side if they are represented. Your McKenzie Friend cannot speak on your behalf unless they have specifically been given permission by the court.

Step 8: At the conclusion of submissions, the judge or chair of the magistrate bench will verbally give their Final Order and reasons. This will be in relation to the parameters of the Child Welfare Check List.

Step 9: Both parties will receive a 'sealed' order, meaning that it has the court stamp on it. This may be provided on the day or be sent by post 2-3 weeks later.

Call us on 01420 370770