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Asking for a draft court order to be shared

Picture this, you’ve just attended a court hearing and represented yourself whilst the other side has been represented by a solicitor or barrister. The Judge asks them to draft the court order at the end of the hearing and send it to court.

You believe it will reflect what was said in the hearing but when it arrives there are comments recorded in it that were not mentioned in the hearing and things included that were not agreed or directed by the court. Sounds unusual right? Wrong!

This happens every day in court and is the precise reason we always advise our clients to ask for the draft order to be shared with them before being submitted to court. Just because you represent yourself it does not mean you are not entitled to ‘agree’ the draft with the other side.

If you were represented it would be shared so representing yourself you should not be placed at a disadvantage.

Legal professionals have a duty to the court to draft orders correctly however sometimes things can be missed or misinterpreted.

Here’s what to do;

  1. Make clear to the representative and/or Judge you would like to see the draft order

  2. Share your contact details with them to ensure they can send it to you and agree timescales, the court doesn’t like to wait.

  3. When you receive the order review it check the recitals/agreements these are general points discussed in the hearing.

  4. Check the part where it says, ‘It is ordered:’ this is the key part and should clearly set out what was directed by the court. Is it clear? Is anything missing? Is there anything there that wasn’t discussed or directed?

  5. Track changes and put notes on any queries.

  6. Send it back to the legal professional, they will either accept the changes or not. Any in dispute should be sent to the Judge.

It is not an opportunity to introduce anything new for either party but as you will be bound by the order it is important that it properly reflects what the court orders. Don’t be put off by professionals who say it’s not ‘normal’ to send it to a litigant in person, it is, and it’s a perfectly reasonable request.

Our clients are often surprised at the errors in court orders they see, so as a matter of practise we encourage those self representing to ensure they have a fair chance to consider the draft order from each hearing they attend.

If you're self representing in the family courts and need support, get in touch:

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