Wellbeing at the Central Family Court

With the current justice system strained, huge pressure is being imposed on family lawyers, court staff and the judiciary to meet the needs of individuals seeking assistance and a resolution to their family law disputes.

As a result, the topic “wellbeing” is being discussed by many in the profession at this moment. The Central Family Court (CFC) this month, led by His Honour Judge Robin Tolson QC, has published a guidance to those in the profession who have cases listed at the CFC.

Some of the guidance given by HHJ Robin Tolson QC, which is expected to be adopted, includes:

  1. Hearings shall not taking place before 10am with the court day ending at 4:30pm;
  2. If the court intends to sit late, then an enquiry as to whether and to what extent this is consistent with everyone’s commitments is expected of the judge or magistrates;
  3. Everyone needs a lunch break so the court should rise for an hour at lunch time;
  4. As far as the court is concerned, there is no need for Practitioners to reply to an email after 6 pm or before 8 am; and
  5. Orders (except perhaps the first order) should be as short as possible. Any position statement, whenever filed, is better than none.  Bullet points are fine.  

It will be interesting to see if other courts adopt their own guidance on wellbeing in the near future.

Drafted by Marc Etherington (Senior Associate & Collaborative Lawyer)