In the recent case of ZJ v XWN1, the Court of Appeal suggested a set of case management practices with a view to expediate the processing time of leave applications. The Family Court has accepted the Court of Appeal’s suggestions, and has adopted the New Arrangement for Application for Leave to Appeal in the Family Court (”NAAL”) with immediate effect. Below is a summary of the NAAL:
- Every application for leave to appeal (“Application”) must be made to the Trial Judge who gave the decision by way of summons. If the Trial Judge is unavailable, the Principal Family Court Judge will assign a judge to deal with the Application.
- The applicant must file (i) a draft grounds of appeal, attached to the summons; (ii) an affidavit explaining the reasons for any delay in support of an extension of time, if applicable; and (iii) a skeleton submission in support of the Application, no longer than five A4 pages in font size 14 and 1.5 line spacing.
- The above documents must be served on the other parties of the proceedings, along with a notice of the NAAL, except for ex parte proceedings. An affidavit of service must be filed within 3 days of service. Failure to comply with the above arrangement may render the Application being struck out and dismissed on the ground of failure to prosecute the Application with due diligence.
- The respondent may oppose the Application within 14 days of service of the Application, by filing and serving an affidavit (if applicable), and a skeleton submission in support of the opposition, in the same form as the Applicant’s skeleton submission. The respondent will not be permitted to make further submissions in opposition of the Application if the above arrangement has not been complied, unless with leave of the Court.
- Any party wishing to submit further documents must obtain prior permission of the Court and inform all other parties. The Family Court Registry will refuse to accept documents and return any lodged documents unread if such permission from the Court has not been obtained.
- A statement of costs must be filed for summary assessment by the party who wishes to seek costs in respect of the Application. If there is an oral hearing, the statement of costs must be up-dated at least 3 clear days before the hearing.
- The Application may be determined with or without an oral hearing. Should the Court direct an oral hearing to be fixed, the date will be fixed by the Court according to the urgency of the matter.
- If the applicant is a litigant in person, under appropriate circumstances, the Trial Judge may direct an oral hearing to be fixed, during which an ex tempore decision may be given.