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Barrister Advice Please!

 
DannyK
(@dannyk)
Eminent Member Registered

Hello, I have my FHDRA next Weds and now have a barrister booked to represent me (have done all the admin / everything else on my own).

Can anyone offer any advice or insight into working with a barrister? Or the process?

My understanding is that you send them all the docs, CAFCASS letters from ex's solicitor, etc, and a summary of events.

Then they schedule a video / call with you to discuss the case and a 'position statement'?.. Not sure exactly what that entails.

Barrister will then always speak for me in the hearing and read my position statement to the court? I expect the hearing to be very emotionally charged with my ex and I being there together, probably with her family in tow.. And there has been a few nonsense DV allegations in the CAFCASS report - which sounds like they saw straight through!

Also FHDRA is only a week away and only just found this barrister, who I haven't even 'met' on email / the phone yet..

Am sure she's good but finding it quite hard to contact her - although I'm told this is often the case and that barristers don't really 'come on' to the case until a few days before? And as it's a FHDRA (with a positive "no further role for CAFCASS" letter in the bag) this should (hopefully) be almost a formality? 

She's young (called to bar 2019) but from a very prestigious family law chamber in London - and very reasonably priced, as whilst not pro bono there is a significant discount.

Any tips, advice, support, from fellow Dads would be most welcome!

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 04/10/2022 11:28 pm
ghostbird
(@ghostbird)
New Member Registered

Hello -Im a sister that has done all the legwork for my brother in a similar situation. His son has been witheld from him since june. I have filed all the paperwork for him and done as much as I can but our local court would not allow a relative to be a mckenzie friend so I hired a barrister for him. We had our FHDRA this week and we hired our barrister three days before. Here is how it went -

 

Barrister asked for relevant documents to be sent over via email. He didnt really ask any questions at this point, just requested certain documents like the c100 and cafcass report. Then he confirmed a call time, so we talked for about half an hour that evening. He asked all the questions he needed to know based off the documents he'd asked for. He then met us at the court shortly before the hearing, had a chat, and then went to find the respondent. He negotiated with the respondent, and told us what orders he was going to ask the court to make (medical disclosures, hair strand drug test, police disclosure) and checked we were happy with that. He got a lot of knowledge from the respondent of what she was going to say in the court so we could tell him the facts that rebuffed her accusations. The respondent was unrepresented herself so she had to negotiate with the barrister directly and she agreed before the hearing that he could have weekend contact commencing immediately. We were surprised at this as this was against what she told CAFCASS as she made many many false accusations of abuse. 

 

Apologies if you already know this, and if you do it might help someone else.....I dont know how far in you are with this and I find Im learning new things every hour doing this, but the FHDRA is where they will make orders. You get to make your case/argument but its not the end boss level of family court - its where you say 'my childs mum is abusive/a liar/withheld my kid because of.../is ill/etc and the judge listens to everything on both sides and then makes orders based on this. She says you are abusive/mean/a druggie/kicked a dog once and they make orders based on that. eg. If you say she has mental health issues when you discuss it with your barrister and the barrister pushes this, they can request the judge to order full medical record disclosure. If you say they have a drug issue then the barrister can ask for drug tests and the judge will decide if they want that as well. I told my brother his barrister is his barrier between him and his ex, they are the jouster on the horse for you, they guard you in court. One of the things our barrister said after they came out of the courtroom to us was 'I do this every day, week in week out' and it made me feel a bit more relaxed, especially as it was such a swift process and we felt a bit like there was more legwork we should have done.

 

Make sure you take all your documents with you, print off a copy of your CAFCASS report, our barrister asked for that when we were there and luckily I had a copy ready to go. 

 

Good Luck

 

Edited to add - The respondant in our case turned up with a gaggle of cronies, but they were all asked to leave and only her and her mckenzie friend could stay. I was allowed to stay as a family member and the barrister even tried to get me in court as Id done so much paperwork but I wasnt allowed. If your ex takes a crew with her just make sure you go and sit in a different part of the waiting room and dont let it get to you 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by ghostbird
ReplyQuote
Posted : 05/10/2022 12:13 am

top tips to support your child after breakup

Bill337
(@bill337)
Famed Member

hi, if you have paid and hired a barrister then you should be getting your moneys worth by contacting them and asking them for information on whole court process or whatever questions you have.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 05/10/2022 2:58 pm
crazybabymother
(@crazybabymother)
Estimable Member Registered

STOP USING FAMILY SOLICITORS AND BARRISTERS! STOP NOW! SAVE YOUR DAMN MONEY - YOU WONT GET ANY FURTHER OR BE ANY LESS PREPARED IF YOU ARE A LITIGANT IN PERSON - GET A MACKENZIE FRIEND

ReplyQuote
Posted : 05/10/2022 4:44 pm

DannyK
(@dannyk)
Eminent Member Registered

Thanks! @ghostbird 

Your post is super helpful.

Got my consultation with Barrister tomorrow afternoon so hopefully they will answer a lot of questions for me too.

I have a Mckenzie Friend that I regularly consult with but unfortunately he's not available the day of my FHDRA so decided a barrister would be important.

So nothing really gets decided at the FHDRA right? Only at the 'boss level' Final Hearing? 😉

FHDRA is just me and the ex making our respective positions / statements known?

Does the date for the Final Hearing get set at the end of the FHDRA before you leave or are you still waiting to hear? One for the hardest things about this process so far, is the sitting, fretting, waiting for the court to issue a date (will be three months from c100 application to FHDRA in my case) so am hoping (but not hopeful) that it will get set at the end of the FHDRA..

Yes, am definitely not looking forward to encountering cronies / ex-family. I would rather not sit in a waiting room with them, and tbh I don't think family should be allowed in the building, let alone court! They're pretty intimidating.

Even though I have a great CAFCASS letter, am bit worried that there are going to be nonsense, unsubstantiated (and untrue) allegations of DV at the FHDRA which may persuade court to overrule CAFCASS report and order a Section 7..

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 06/10/2022 9:40 am
mrstrange
(@mrstrange)
Estimable Member Registered

It you lucky the hearing will be sat by a judge who can make orders for interim contact when matters are disputed. 

 

However the majority of hearings are say by legal advisers who cannot make orders for contact where matters are disputed. 

 

FHDRA can be 20-30min short and uneventful - especially it your ex refuse contact and want a section 7 report.

 

If you can, try to negotiate some contact ahead of the hearing even if it's minimal or supervised.  

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Posted : 06/10/2022 6:00 pm

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mrstrange
(@mrstrange)
Estimable Member Registered

It you lucky the hearing will be sat by a judge who can make orders for interim contact when matters are disputed. 

 

However the majority of hearings are say by legal advisers who cannot make orders for contact where matters are disputed. 

 

FHDRA can be 20-30min short and uneventful - especially it your ex refuse contact and want a section 7 report.

 

If you can, try to negotiate some contact ahead of the hearing even if it's minimal or supervised.  

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/10/2022 6:00 pm

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