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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Barrister at law
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Witness statements,.. from the other side... My Ex filed a

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Witness statements,.. from the other side...
My Ex filed a Witness statement at FHYDRA but because those hearings are not for evidence, it was not engaged with by anyone.
Nor did he seek permission to bring witness evidence to the final Hearing.Can I ask, does that mean, he can’t file a witness statement at final hearing (unless he makes a special application on C2?)It would be fairly typical of him to file things late and unexpectedly. While his main statement is due 6 weeks before hearing, ...I don’t want any ‘late’ ones dropping in days before final hearing.Would you have hints on how to manage this?

Hello and thanks for the question, I will review this morning and revert back to you as soon as I can.

Please bear in mind though that this is an email service and not live chat and therefore I may not respond immediately.

Please note that our discussions on this site are for general information purposes and do not create an lawyer-client relationship. It is always recommended that you consult with a local solicitor for specific legal information. You may receive a phone call request which is from the site, not me, and you may choose to ignore this request.

The difficulty is that the family court is a lot less strict about evidence and rules that other courts.

Obviously the overriding interests of the child are the priority, not necessarily following rules to the letter. This is very frustrating if you are a party that complies with the rules and the other side does not.

However, in this case, where the court has been very clear about the filing of evidence in the run up to a hearing, then parties should need to see permission to submit additional evidence if they intend to or the whole thing is in danger of spiralling out of control in terms of the timetable. Additional evidence needs responding to properly and as such late filing nearly always ends up in adjournments, which the court is against unless absolutely necessary. Quite of too, parties file additional 'evidence' thinking they are helping their case when in fact they have missed the point entirely - the objective is not to throw mud at the other party but to find the best outcome for the child.

Really the only justification for an additional statement would be if there had been an event of significant importance in the intervening period between the final statement being filed as per the timetable and the hearing itself. But, as I said, the court can sometimes be flexible around there issues and there is no hard and fast rule as ultimately it's down to judicial discretion.

Additional statements from third parties should not however be allowed in at the last minute.

I hope that this clarifies things?

Customer: replied 22 days ago.
if he lodges anything controversial last minute, I'd seek adjournment, which I want anyway because the Hearing is inconveniently in school hols and neither of us can easily find childcare to cover the date. (I have already asked for adjournment for that reason).In the Witness (his girlfriend) statement he prematurely lodged at FHYDRA (but did not seek permission to bring to Hearing) she lied extensively (to cover him) about the missing medications etc. So, I devoted a couple of pages to THAT in my main statement and attached her Witness statement in my bundle. So her evidence is going in (LOL).I wonder if they will beef up her evidence ahead of trial. I would get opportunity to briefly respond in my 7 days Before Hearing Statement, but as you say... if there are reams of new Witness statements from him, or anything majorly new, it points to Adjournment.However, .... near to hearing, how to get the Court to process C2 adjournment if unapproved Witness statements flying in? (Court takes two weeks minimum to find a judge!!! another two weeks to find a post box!!) I guess we all show up to the Original date for which we must find childcare cover, and ask for adjournment (but be overruled).... is it at least possible to carry on with Hearing but EXCLUDE the late additional evidence?

Yes I do understand the frustrations with delays in the courts processing applications and getting directions order out to parties. But this is beyond all of our control.

If you have childcare for the court date sorted, then an adjournment may not be that helpful.

You could ask for a ruling on the admissibility of evidence as a preliminary issue at the start of a final hearing, before the actual hearing takes place. If evidence is then admitted that you feel you have not had the opportunity to address, as a result of this ruling, then you ask for adjournment at that point on the basis of convention rights (fair trial etc).

I hope that clarifies?

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
I'm not finding PART 24 (FPR) that helpful on witness statements. I agree I should go with logic and ask for any unexpected statements to be ruled as inadmissible or adjourn.Is my Ex entitled to 'cross examine' my Witness directly? or is that something my Witness should stay quiet on, and await the Judge intervening to give guidance to everyone on this?

The court will decide on which witnesses will be cross examined, and limit questioning if necessary. It's quite unusual for cross examination of supporting witnesses in the family court, so their evidence does have to be quite key to the issues at stake for the court to allow it. It is certainly not something the witness addresses in their statement though. If cross examination is allowed then it is the parties themselves that do this unless there are domestic abuse allegations, in which case the judge would ask a pre prepared list of questions.

Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer, please do let me know if you have any additional questions in the future. I am also happy to answer any new questions on other topics that you may have, you can request me by putting “for PLCLEGAL” at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
I can make my Witness aware of the small chance he might have a question to answer from my Ex - but I'll encourage Witness to pause so Judge can guide the way.We previously lightly covered disruptive behaviour by Ex in court. Contempt seems to mean 'wilful conduct which impedes administration of justice' but both civil and criminal seem to have a high bar. However, do I have at least this option - having flagged in my statement a request that Court manages my Ex's behaviour which was horrendous at FHYDRA, do I ask the Judge (when I get chance to speak) for apology from Ex to court if he kicks off again. Criminal CPRs enable people to apologise and carry on.
I've pre-warned in my statement as to Ex's character/tendencies with failure to comply with CAO in 5 years, his shouting in court, and his declaration that nobody follows Arrangement orders anyway so what's the point. It is contemptuous, but below the bar.
I can't find an FPR on this point... can you see any other options than I've tried to prepare myself for?

Thanks for the new question. This is definitely a different topic from the one covered in this thread, so if you wouldn't mind posting as a new thread I'd be grateful. Thanks in advance.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Sure. The admin team in this product think that all questions belong in One Long Thread.
Tis' very annoying!

I understand, of course!

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