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There is finally a date for the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 to come into force, the date has been set for the 6th April 2022. 
This has been extended from the original estimation of Autumn 2021, but there is no worry that this 6th April 2022 date could be moved due to it now being fixed as a matter of parliamentary record. 
The former chair of resolution Nigel Shepherd gave a comment on this, “Whilst any delay is disappointing, we do now have certainty over the introduction of this important reform, and will be able to advise clients accordingly” 
This Act will bring a change to how divorce, dissolution and separations are conducted and hopefully give them a more amicable feel in such a high intense part of someone’s life. 
Will zoom and virtual meetings become the norm between lawyers and their clients? 
This is a question that has been asked many times since virtual meetings became the new way to communicate with clients when the pandemic set in. 
Figures show that 71% of clients were comfortable with virtual meetings such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. With this in mind, the figure for clients thinking about using law firms from across the country has increased from 46% in 2019 to 59% in 2021. 
This has given law firms who would usually see client’s face to face, a new avenue to explore with the potential for offering a service to clients across the country. This also gives the client the ability to choose a law firm who may suit them better instead of choosing a legal firm solely on their proximity to their home or work. 
As technology and the way we communicate progresses, law firms will need to evolve with new technology, to offer the best service to their clients. 
A judge who has explored the reasons behind a chronic shortage of medical experts in the family justice system hopes the days when an expert witness had to attend court in person could now be over. 
A working group led by Mr Justice David Williams found that many health professionals they interviewed were concerned as to how they could manage a busy NHS practice with the perceived inflexibilities of the court system. The group suggested that remote court attendance should become the norm unless personal attendance was necessary. 
For a long time, Family law has been very adult centric and has not focused on the child, with this comes tension between parents, which, in turn, affects the child’s mental health. 
In the early 1980’s Resolution began with the aim to change the way family law works, offering a more amicable solution for clients, resulting in children having a more positive outlook on the situation. Resolution has focused on specialist training and interdisciplinary working for family lawyers and has produced a wealth of amicable client focused lawyers. 
Resolution have also been backing the ‘no fault divorce campaign’, with the idea that it will bring less tension and conflict within a separation, thus providing better outcomes to the children of the relationship. Resolution have been successful with this campaign and the no fault divorce will be implemented at the end of 2021. 
In 2020 alone, there were almost 56,000 children applications made affecting roughly 100,000 children, some of these cases took up to 39 weeks to conclude giving an average of 11 weeks longer than the previous year. 
Over the years there has been many charities and campaigns who have tackled this conflict affecting children of separated parents. One of these is the Positive Parenting Alliance, its aim is to “start a wider conversation in society about separation with the hopes that, over time, there will be a change in culture and a reframing so that children’s needs come first when a relationship ends”. 
Hopefully, we will see a decrease in children affected by the conflict of separation with the help of the Positive Parenting Alliance campaign and Resolutions continued efforts to set out standards for lawyers to have a more amicable, child focused outlook. 
Plans for a new City of London court complex have been put on hold with objections from SAVE Britain’s heritage and other conservation groups. 
The proposed court complex would be on Fleet Street holding the City of London police headquarters, an eight-story court building and a third commercial building. 
For the court complex to be built buildings such as the Chronical House would need to be demolished. This is where the heritage and conservation groups object. 
There are a lot of pros to this new complex being built; 400 newly created jobs will be available on top of the 2,100 jobs already in motion, the complex has been designed in a way that it will last at least 125 years, it will help drive growth in the square mile to retain the City of London’s position as the global Centre for business, law, and justice. 
Of course, with pros there are also cons, the main one being the demolition of historical buildings in the Fleet Street area. 
Financial proceedings can be somewhat messy especially when parties actively try and hide assets in the hope the other party gets less of a settlement than they actually deserve. It can be even messier when parties involve family including their own children in the process of hiding said assets. 
This was certainly shown in the case of Akhmedov V Akhmedov and others, a £450m divorce case. 
Farkhad Akhmedov involved his son in the process of disposing assets to hinder his ex-wife’s claims, the son even admitted to Mrs Justice Knowles that “he had helped his father protect his assets from his mother’s claims”. Mrs Justice Knowles did not accept the sons case that he was a go between for his father and made it clear his actions were done with intent. 
This case has been a major subject for the media due to the nature of the family. Especially the judgement handed down, being that Farkhad was ordered to pay his ex-wife £453,576,152. 
Messy financial proceedings can cost parties hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of pounds more in legal fees and time. Sometimes messy proceedings cannot be prevented, but when parties are both amicable it does show in the outcome and costs. 
Hopefully this case will be a learning curve for those parties in a better position than the other wanting to try and hinder claims that may be rightfully deserved. 
The courts have recently reminded a litigant in person that there is no special treatment when unrepresented. Handing him an interim costs order to pay 60% of the claimant’s costs upfront, totalling £100,000. 
Judge Paul Matthews stated that “There are not two sets of rules for litigation in this jurisdiction, one for represented litigant and one for unrepresented” 
This outcome was a direct result of the conduct of the litigant in person, being ‘well out of the norm for a court case’. 
This topic may be one of controversy due to its nature with some professionals applauding the decision and some questioning it. 
The Ministry of Justice this week opened a consultation on a plan to increase Court fees by around 8% across the board, Court fees have not increased since 2016. 
With the proposed rise of court fees, the threshold to be able to receive help with fees is also going to rise, this will make more people eligible for assistance with court fees. 
There is a significant difference between the figure for the running costs of the HMCTS to the income received from the court and tribunal fees. Thus, meaning more funding is needed and this naturally comes from the taxpayer. 
Fees for filing an application for a divorce, nullity or civil partnership dissolution will increase from £550 to £592, with an application for parental order going from £215 to £232. 
If this proposal is implemented, it will come into effect late September/early October. 
The Ministry of Justice has developed a mediation voucher scheme, whereby a contribution of up to £500 per case/family to the mediation costs of a child arrangements case will be offered, encouraging people to seek to resolve their disputes outside of court where appropriate to do so. 
The purpose of the scheme is to promote the benefits of mediation and divert matters where appropriate away from the family courts. The scheme will offer mediation participants a financial contribution of up to £500 per family towards the total costs of their mediation. 
Vouchers can be granted to families where participants have attended a pre-mediation meeting (MIAM) from today (26 March) onwards, and will be paid directly to mediators who have registered to take part in the scheme. 
Full details of the scheme, how to take part and how vouchers are allocated can be found on the FMC website. 


Office tel: 01543 441 802 
Opening hours: 
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm 
Office tel: 01543 441 802 
Mon-Fri: 9AM - 5PM 
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