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Questionnaires in Financial Remedy Proceedings
To prepare for the First Appointment in financial remedy proceedings, each party must file with the Court and serve the other party a questionnaire in respect of their financial disclosure (Form E). When completing Form E, the parties have an obligation to the Court to give full, frank and clear disclosure. The duty is ongoing and includes a duty to disclose any material change in financial circumstances.
A questionnaire and request for documents ask for clarification and further information and/or supporting documents that are necessary for full disclosure. A questionnaire is not a fishing exercise or an opportunity for cross-examination. The request must be relevant to the issues identified in the case. At the First Appointment, a District Judge may strike out questions that are irrelevant or disproportionate to the assets involved.
Common questions include, but are not limited to:
- Establishing whether a property valuation can be agreed without the associated expense of instructing an expert to prepare a report.
- Requests for a full 12 months’ bank statements where those provided may be incomplete.
- Requests for valuation evidence for other assets including jewellery, antiques etc.
- Establishing whether a party has a potential capital gains tax liability.
- Requests for company accounts and other financial information, e.g. Director’s loan account.
- Clarification concerning the parties’ disclosed income needs.
- Evidence of the parties’ disclosed housing needs, by way of a request for evidence of suitable properties and maximum mortgage capacity information.
- Evidence of the efforts made to secure employment to establish a party’s earning capacity.
The questionnaire will be prepared by your solicitor in conjunction with you. Therefore, if there are any matters contained in your spouse’s Form E and supporting documents about which you require further clarification, or should you consider assets and/or income to have not been fully disclosed, it is important that these points are raised with your solicitor.
Once questionnaires have been exchanged, the parties are required to provide responses and a timetable will be set for provision of questionnaire replies. On receipt, the other party’s questionnaire replies should be checked carefully to make sure they have been answered property and whether or not there are any further legitimate questions arising out of the responses.
Where disclosure remains incomplete and the questionnaire has not been responded to fully, a schedule of deficiencies/supplemental questionnaire can be prepared. This document should set out any points arising from the other party’s questionnaire and should be served as soon as possible. The other party should be invited to answer this document before the Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment.