ADVOCACY THE JUDGE’S VIEW SERIES 4: PART 2: GET TO THE POINT QUICKLY
There are many posts on this blog under the “Judge’s guide to advocacy” series. Today’s post is based on a single tweet. The tweeter known as “Judgitis” wants people to get to the point quickly.
“If any family practitioners follow me (thank you btw) – a plea. FLAs applications are increasing. If they are urgent and you think they require w/o notice orders have witness statements tell us why in the first few paras. So many give a life story before getting to the point.”
A TRANSLATION (FOR NON-FAMILY LAWYERS)
A “FLA” application is an application under the Family Law Act 1996. Emergency applications usually in response to domestic violence.
GET TO THE POINT QUICKLY
So the judge’s basic point is get to the key point quickly – in this case why an order should be made without notice. A witness statement that gives 10 pages setting out the history of the relationship before it gets to the key points (and by this time even the person preparing the statement may have forgotten what the key points are) is unlikely to be received with open arms by the judiciary.
One way of dealing with this is to use sub-headings. These sub-headings should not “argue the case” but can direct the judge’s attention to the key issues. So a sub-heading “why I don’t want my partner to know about this application before it is made” could, quite properly, set out the concerns the witness has.