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Participation of vulnerable people in proceedings - Law Society response

20 March 2017

The Law Society has responded to the Family Procedure Rules Committee's (FPRC) draft practice direction 3AA: Vulnerable persons - participation in proceedings and giving evidence

The draft practice direction seeks to place a duty on the court and parties to identify 'at the earliest possible stage of any family proceedings' any party or witness who is a vulnerable person. Factors to consider are:

  • domestic abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • racial and/or cultural abuse
  • forced marriage
  • female genital or other physical mutilation
  • abuse or discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation

Our response sets out additional issues for the FPRC to consider, including clarifying the consequences of non-compliance with the practice direction and additional indicators that a party or witness may be vulnerable.

We also highlight that additional guidance might be required to enable litigants to meet their responsibilities under this practice direction.

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