How to write a position statement for a Family Court hearing
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Going to court can feel daunting, especially if you do not have a lawyer. It is usually helpful to prepare a position statement for the court and the other party to read before each court hearing. This legal guide will give you information about how to write a position statement. Rights of Women publishes a number of other legal guides that may be useful including Family Court proceedings: where can I get advice and support? and A guide to preparing for court hearings and safety in the Family Court. You can access our full range of legal guides at www.rightsofwomen.org.uk
A position statement is a short statement, usually 1 or 2 sides of A4 paper, which sets out your position for a particular court hearing. You can prepare a position statement for each court hearing you attend.
Position statements can be a helpful way of getting your points across to the judge and the other party clearly and concisely, particularly if you are nervous about speaking in court.
The position statement should not contain evidence. Your evidence will be included in a separate witness statement either when you make your application or later on if the court asks you to prepare one.
You should put a heading at the top of your position statement containing useful information about the case, such as the case number, the name of the court, yours and the other party’s names and the date and time of the court hearing. Including this information at the top of your position statement will ensure that the court staff and the judge know which court room and which case the position statement is for. See the example at the end of this guide.
These are the kinds of things you may wish to include in a position statement:
- Who each of the parties are and their relationship to one another. For example “I am the Respondent mother. The Applicant, Joe Brown, is my husband and the child’s father”.
- If you are the applicant and this is the first hearing – what has caused you to make the application? Have you tried to negotiate? Is the matter urgent?
- Has there been domestic violence? Are you able to safely communicate with the other party? Is your address confidential?
- If you do not have a lawyer you may choose to bring a friend, relation or professional with you to support you in the court room – if so you may need to complete a form provided by the court or provide a short CV with details of the person you are bringing
- What has happened since the last hearing (for example, documents you have sent to the court, documents you have received from the other party, any documents the other party was supposed to send to you which you have not received)?
- If you have not complied with any court directions then provide a short explanation (a direction is when the court asks you do something and they will be recorded on a court order)
- Any court directions that the other party has failed to comply with
- What directions do you want the court to make at the hearing? (for example, you may want permission to file a statement or instruct an expert)
- What outcome do you want?
If your case is to do with your children
- What is your relationship to the children? What is the other party’s relationship to the children?
- Is the other party having contact with the children? How is contact going? Provide a short and concise summary of any concerns.
- What outcome you want (for example, the child should live with you and see the other parent every other weekend, or for there to be no contact between the child and the other parent)
- Do your children have any special needs?
- Do you want permission to file any further evidence, if so, what sort of evidence? (For example a witness statement from you, a letter from the children’s school)
If your case is for a domestic violence injunction
- Have you served the other party with the documents? Has he tried to contact you or breached the order in any way?
- What orders do you need the court to make to keep you safe?
- What directions do you want the court to make at the hearing? (for example you may want permission to file police records or a letter from your GP)
If your case is to do with finances
- What is your current financial position?
- What outcome do you want?
- Have you filed all of your financial documents? If any of your financial disclosure is outstanding, when will you obtain it?
- Has the other party provided all of his financial disclosure? Which documents are still missing?
- What directions do you want the court to make at the hearing? (for example you may want to instruct an expert to value a property or for the other party to provide some bank statements or company accounts)
If you prepare a position statement you should send it to the court and the other party so they receive it by at least 11am the day before the hearing. Most courts have email addresses for family cases which can be found on the court’s website. If you email in your position statement make sure you include your name and the case number in the subject line so it goes to the correct judge. Make sure you take extra copies with you to court for the judge, the other party and the officer from Cafcass / CAFCASS Cymru, just in case.
Sometimes the judge may direct you to prepare a position statement for a hearing, in which case you must send the position statement to the judge and the other party (and the officer from Cafcass / CAFCASS Cymru) by the date specified on the order.
The law is complex and may have changed since this guide was produced. This guide is designed to provide general information only for the law in England and Wales. You should seek up-to-date, independent legal advice.
Rights of Women does not accept responsibility for any reliance placed on the legal information contained in this guide.
© Rights of Women March 2017
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