Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

Which judge will hear my family law case?

The answer to this question depends on the type of case which is heard by the court.

If you are making an application in relation to children, the court will allocate your case to an appropriate level of judge when it is issued.  The first hearing of a children case is called a FHDRA (First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment).  This is a court led conciliation appointment at which the judge will explore settlement options with the parties.  The rules provide that there should be judicial continuity in cases involving children, which means that in theory, the same judge should hear the case from beginning to end.  The judge at the FHDRA hearing who tries to assist the parties in resolving their dispute may well therefore be the same judge who, in the event that settlement is not reached, makes a final decision in the case.

Financial cases are dealt with differently.  The second hearing in the standard timetable for a financial case is the Financial Dispute Resolution (“FDR”) hearing. In advance of this hearing the judge will be given details of all the offers which have passed between the parties.  The judge will give an indication to the parties about how he or she would deal with the case if required to decide a final hearing of the case.  The judge who is involved in that FDR hearing will not have any further involvement in the case. This encourages both parties to make offers of settlement at court, without concerns that these offers could then affect the opinion of a judge at a future final hearing.

Which judge will hear my family law case?

Golden Lady Justice by Emmanuel Huybrechts

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