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Well-Being in the Central Family Court

Well-Being in the Central Family Court

Well, with all the confusing weather I have taken the time to catch up on my legal newsletters from the Law Society, Resolution (Family Law) Organisation and The Law Gazette and have read some interesting articles in August.


Firstly, His Honour Judge Robin Tolson QC, has produced a working draft of ‘Well-being in the Central Family Court’, in which he states that the family court hearings should not start before 10.30am, finish by 4.30pm and break for lunch between 1 and 2 pm. And barristers should not answer calls or emails before 8am or after 6pm. This is the well-being guidance being issued in the Central Court. Hearings may well not go before Judges before 10.30am however legal teams are always directed to attend one hour at least beforehand to discuss with the other side.


My comment to this is thank goodness for the hard working family solicitors in the English Courts who work tirelessly behind the scenes managing client expectations, drafting document after document to place before barristers and Judge’s. Family solicitors guide clients through the difficult and confusing court procedures, forms, statements and endless case summaries. As for not answering emails or call after 6pm, he has clearly not had to deal with busy barristers preparing the night before for a hearing and sending emails to lowly solicitors committed to making sure their clients get the best outcome.
Secondly, this week the Court of Appeal found that it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of the misperception that a condition would make them unable to do the job properly. Interestingly enough although the case was concerning the Chief Constable of Norfolk it in fact began with a constable in Wiltshire who was refused a transfer due to minor hearing loss.


It was accepted that the officers hearing loss had no substantial adverse effect on their ability to perform their job to an acceptable standard. This posed the question as to whether the officer was “disabled” and so could bring a claim for discrimination.


The definition of “disability discrimination” is an extremely difficult one and does not make it easy for employers or indeed employees.


The main point here is that the Court of Appeal agrees that it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of a mistaken belief that the person is disabled if they have a progressive condition. Many unscrupulous employers use this tactic to maintain that performance will fall below standards in the long term and therefore discriminate against that employee.


And finally it has been suggested by Ian Bond, the chair of the Law Society’s wills and equity committee that the Ministry of Justice has been a little sparing with their estimates as to the delay in granting probate due to technical issues. Delays are now up to 9 weeks because the time is takes for such matters as registrars coming in to sign documents or the documents being sent to another registry office and that’s after the fee has been banked and the applications approved by the legal manager.
The MOJ used the online applications to publish their “satisfied customer” statistics however only 5-10% of probate applications are done online. So with a backlog of 4000 applications they may be further delays. So for anyone waiting for a grant of probate please go easy on your solicitor as they are probably as frustrated as you are.


Until next month Stay safe and Stay legal

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