Participation of vulnerable people in proceedings - Law Society response
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.