The Law Society has responded to the Family Procedure Rules Committee's (FPRC) draft practice direction 3AA: Vulnerable persons - participation in proceedings and giving evidence.
The draft practice direction seeks to place a duty on the court and parties to identify "at the earliest possible stage of any family proceedings" any party or witness who is a vulnerable person. Factors to consider are:
- domestic abuse
- sexual abuse
- racial and/or cultural abuse
- forced marriage
- female genital or other physical mutilation
- abuse or discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation
The Law Society's response sets out additional issues for the FPRC to consider, including clarifying the consequences of non-compliance with the practice direction and additional indicators that a party or witness may be vulnerable.
The response also highlights that additional guidance might be required to enable litigants to meet their responsibilities under this practice direction.
The full response can be downloaded here.