As family lawyers, we live in an increasingly rule-bound world. Bundles must comply with PD 27A; witness statements with PD 22A. Preliminary documents must be “…as short and succinct as possible” (PD 27A § 4.4), and now must not exceed the page limits at PD 27A § 5.2A. The court’s general power to further the overriding objective (r. 4.1(o)) can be used to manage areas which once were left to the lawyers: e.g. limiting the length of Section 25 statements.
The exception to this codification is the questionnaire.
This article comments on the increasing length and pointlessness of many questionnnaires, some of which more closely resemble an audit. It reflects on the difficulty of properly dealing with a long questionnaire at a First Appointment, and suggests several areas in which questionnaires might be more tightly and succinctly drafted. It concludes by suggesting how the rules might be amended.”
The full version of this article will appear in the February issue of Family Law.