The President of the Family Division summarises a new interim Public Law Outline (PLO) which is to be published at the end of May and which will come into force on 1 July 2013. It will be superseded in April 2014 by a final version incorporating any further adjustments that experience over the next few months will show to be desirable.
The major change is to the first hearing which will become the effective case management hearing:
‘If the first case management hearing is effective, then we will meet the 26 week deadline; if it is not we will not ... The key principle is very simple: the local authority must deliver its material - the right kind of material - on Day 1. If that does not happen, the entire timetable will be thrown out. What must the local authority deliver? And what do I mean by the "right kind of material"?'
The President's article is essential reading for practitioners, the judiciary and all concerned with the modernisation of family justice and the fundamental changes about to be introduced.