Children Stage 5 – Contested Hearing (Fact Finding, Interim, Final or Disposal Hearing)
If your case has not settled at Stage 4, the court will list a contested hearing. This may be:
- A Fact Finding hearing to decide whether the court finds allegations, for example, of domestic violence proved. Depending on the outcome your case would then typically be adjourned with the court making directions, for example, for the submission of further reports and statements and listed for a disposal hearing on a later date.
- A ‘rolled-up’ Final hearing at which the court will rule on any factual disputes and also decide the long-term arrangements the court considers to be in the best interests of your children. That order may be listed for a review hearing on a later date.
- An Interim hearing, for the court to decide, for example, where your children should live or what the contact arrangements should be on a temporary basis pending further reports and monitoring.
- A Disposal hearing, typically following compliance with further directions given at the conclusion of a Fact Finding hearing.
Contested hearings, particularly Fact Finding and ‘rolled up’ Final hearings, often take place over two or more days. There may be more than one contested hearing, for example, a Fact Finding hearing followed by a Disposal hearing or a ‘rolled-up’ Final hearing which is subject to a Review hearing. At a contested hearing the court will hear evidence from you, the other party to the case, witnesses, often from a Cafcass family court adviser or social worker and perhaps also from experts, for example a psychologist or psychiatrist. Inevitably, due to the amount of time that has to be spent on your case the fees, including those of your barrister and of any experts required to attend court tend to be high.
What we will do for you
- Take all necessary steps to prepare your case for the contested hearing, including updating evidence and complying with the court’s further directions
- Liaise with you to select a suitable barrister to represent you at the hearing and prepare a brief to counsel
- Draft or approve the case summary, statement of issues, chronology and proposed order in readiness for the hearing
- If you are the applicant we will compile the bundle of documents for the hearing and if you are the respondent, approve those documents
- As necessary, the member of our family team who has conduct of your case will attend with you at a conference with your barrister either before the court date or at court on the hearing date.
What is not covered
- Any work or advice on divorce, finances or domestic violence
- Any international elements
- Care proceedings, child abduction or enforcement of existing court orders
- The fees of any experts or other professionals, including your barrister’s fees
- Any work in connection with more than one hearing listed by the court as contested.
If you wish, we can continue to represent you in connection with any excluded work and provide a separate quotation.
What are the costs?
The fixed price for Stage 5 is £1,500 + vat.
A deposit of £750 + vat is required at the start of stage 5.
The fees of any other professionals, including your barrister, or experts and/or for obtaining records or other similar expenses are payable 21 days before they are instructed/the fees are incurred.
The balance of £750 + vat is payable 6 weeks before the contested hearing.