If you would like some support at a Financial Remedies Hearing because you have suffered domestic abuse which includes; coercive and controlling behaviour; narcissistic behaviour and economic abuse you can apply to the court for what is called "Special Measures". s6 of The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 provides that if a person is, or is at risk of being a victim of Domestic Abuse they are automatically eligible for Special Measures.
In the Financial Remedies Court, (as opposed to Children Proceedings where the Form is C2) the application can be made by completing Form FP. The Form is sent to the court, either with your application, or in advance of a hearing. Sometimes, where there is a suggestion of Domestic Abuse in your position statement, the Judge, at the first hearing, may ask you whether you would like special measures for future hearings. There is also a form FP1A that has guidance notes to help you complete the FP1 Form.
Special Measures can include such measures as:
1. Separate Entrances to the Court
2. A separate waiting area away from your abusive ex partner
3. A Screen in court so you can't see your ex partner in court.
4. Giving evidence via a video link so that you do not have to be in the same court room as your abusive ex partner
The court will decide upon receiving your form what measures are to be put in place. So you will need to set out your reasons on form FP1. For example, that you don't feel able to be in court room with your ex partner because of Domestic Abuse. A screen would make you feel less intimidated. That you would feel calmer and be more able to participate at the hearing if your support worker was with you. That seeing your partner would trigger a reaction in you that would detrimentally affect your ability to participate in the hearing.
Give the Court time to put the measures in place so give as much notice as you can to the court to put the measures in place. I would check in with the court nearer the hearing to make sure they have the form and the special measures are in place. If you put Urgent, Special Measures and Case Number in the subject heading of your email, it usually helps to get a quicker response.
I'll talk more about how to apply to the court for a ban on your ex cross examining at the final hearing in another post soon. There is an automatic ban in some cases, depending on what written evidence you have. In other cases, the court has a discretion.
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