The preparation will often be dependent on the type of hearing and the specific circumstances of the case in question. However, there are some general tips which can help a litigant in person prepare for an upcoming Family Court hearing.
Appropriate arrangements for children
It is not advisable to bring children to court and therefore parties should try to make alternative childcare arrangements.
Parties will often be required to attend the court 30 minutes or 1 hour in advance of the time that the hearing is listed to start. You do not want to be rushing around or getting lost on the day of the hearing and therefore it is advisable to plan timings and the route in advance.
Interpreters can be used in the Family Court if a party is deaf/hard of hearing or does not understand English. You can get in touch with the court in advance of the hearing and they will be able to organise an interpreter to attend on the day.
People with disabilities
Courts should be accessible to people with disabilities and reasonable adjustments must be made. You can get in touch with the court in advance of the hearing to make them aware of specific requirements to ensure that things run smoothly on the day.
Safety at the court
Domestic abuse will be a relevant factor in many Family Court cases and therefore parties may be concerned about their safety on the day of the hearing. You can get in touch with the court in advance of the hearing so that necessary safeguarding measures can be taken. Examples of such measures include:
- A separate waiting room
- A screen to be placed between the parties
- Attending the hearing via video link in exceptional circumstances
It may be useful to write a position statement before attending your first hearing. See our information page on Writing a Position Statement for further advice on this.
See our information page on Court Bundles for further advice.