Minutes of a Meeting of the Derby & District Law Society Family Law Committee

Meeting: 9th November 2017


Ben Lawson

Diana Copestake

Lucy Tissington

Liz Guyler

Janine Hobday

Nick Herbert


Fiona Apthorpe (Secretary)

Ruth Jones

Melanie Bridgen

Vince Beckwith

David Guthrie

No Apologies:

Fiona Lazenby



2.1 HHJ Bellamy’s Newsletter

Everybody should have received a copy of the newsletters, the most recent of which is dated November 2017. There is a lot in there which merits careful consideration. Fiona had circulated copies of the newsletter but if anybody has not received a copy please contact Fiona. 

Particular points to note:

The revised PD12J regarding domestic abuse. If you have not familiarised yourself with the revised PD, you should do so. 

Deputy District Judges – the lack of Judges. This was discussed at length. There are now significant ‘waiting periods’ when documents are filed at Court. The Court now require 18 working days before they can confirm whether a letter or application has been received. 

Court Bundles – Please do not use the previously provided pro forma when applying for permission to exceed the 350 page limit of a Court Bundle. Refer to PD27A and comply with the directions given. In addition, make sure that Bundles are arranged as per the PD when cases are being dealt with by Lay Magistrates. 

Witness Statements – as we all know, Witness Statements must include a Statement of Truth.  There seems to be a problem locally with Position and Witness statements being wrongly referred to and the two being used interchangeably. Please see the newsletter. 

Part 25 applications. Whilst some Judges may deal with an application on paper and without the need for a case management hearing, that is the exception and not the rule.  The Court has made it clear that Part 25 must be complied with.

2.2 HHJ Bellamy

He has invited members of the profession to the Derby Courts Carol Service on 11th December at 5.15pm.  All are welcome. 


3.2 Database

A reminder that the database of Family Practitioners is a very useful method of communicating information to family lawyers locally.  

Could everybody please double check that Members of their Family Team are included.  If you are not included please let Fiona have your email address.  

3.3 Training and Education

Nothing to report.

3.4 Local Family Justice Board

The Derby Family Local Justice Council was originally set up in 2005.  It was subsequently resurrected as the Local Family Justice Board.  Many Committee Members are Members and if you want to be on the LFJB’s mailing list and be sent information about training events etc please contact Joanne.eaton1@hmc.gsi.gov.uk

3.5 Rights of Audience

A timely reminder that experienced Legal Executives can apply to the FPC locally for rights of audience on a generic basis rather than having to apply individually on a case by case basis.  There is a Protocol in force.  Anyone who wants to take advantage of this should contact the Court direct.  

3.6 Court User Groups

Nothing to report save as above.


Not sure

All meetings at 4pm at Geldards LLP, No.1 Pride Place, Pride Park, Derby DE24 8QR.  Plenty of available free parking.  

Fiona M K Apthorpe