January 2022 heralded changes to the way that we undertake Financial Remedy Proceedings, the procedure has been updated and streamlined to try and improve the way that financial remedy actions are dealt with by practitioners and the courts.
For practitioners this has seen the introduction of new forms as well as the new procedures. There is an emphasis on single schedules and case summaries, known as efficiency statements. These documents are now passed between parties highlighting the areas where there are agreements and disagreements. This composite document approach avoids the Judge having to wrestle with competing documents.
A welcome first step is the new requirement for a jointly obtained agreed valuation of the family home to be obtained in advance of the first appointment. Together with production of sample properties to meet housing needs and evidence of mortgage capacity. This means that a clearer picture of the parties’ needs should emerge at a much earlier stage of the proceedings.
There is also an emphasis on open negotiation and the parties are expected to negotiate with cost penalties applying to those who fail to do so.
How these changes work in practice remains to be seen, but they are non the less a welcome intervention and we will readily embrace these changes.