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The red book and why you need to read it!


This is part of a series of videos about books that you will need to refer to if you’re going through a divorce – or your lawyer will. This one is called the ‘red book’, it’s the Family Court Practice, it comes out in June of each year so this is the 2015 one. So if you’re looking at this in July 2016 I apologise, I haven’t updated this video.

Now this book is big. There’s no doubt about it. It’s also very expensive. It’s the best part of £500. Now it contains a lot of information, as you can imagine, and what you have in here is you have the relevant acts of parliament, you have the relevant statutory instruments, so for example you’ll have Family Procedure Rules 2010. You’ll also have the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973; The Children Act 1989. All of those are in here.

This book shows how you do things. It sets out the procedure, as well as the Substantive Law. It’s really, really, important. If you ever go into a courtroom then you’ll see the judge has got one of these and your lawyer obviously will have one of them as well.

So I would definitely recommend that you have it. Now obviously I am not going to say to you that you should read it all, because if you were to read it all you’d be reading over 3000 pages. What you can do though is refer to it as and when you need to. And that’s what it is. It’s a reference book, it’s a starting point – this is not the end point, I am afraid.

What we do is we go in here, look at whatever it is that were looking for, so for example applications, set aside a court order, following a failure to attend, it’s there, it’s in rule 27.5, we’ve found the Family Procedure Rules. And then if you look at the notes that go under it there’s reference there to various cases that have been reported. So you can then go and read those cases and read the judgements in order to get a full understanding of not just what the rules say. But more importantly what the court says the rules mean. Because sometimes they can come up with different results to what you’d imagine they would. So it’s important that you have access to this book.

Now I can’t imagine that any expert lawyer, practising in divorce would not have this book, it’s just such an essential thing to have. So, I would strongly recommend it. I think it’s published by Family Law, which I think is part of Jordans. I wholeheartedly recommend it. There’s nothing out there which can replace it.

Now you would think that this would be enough but it’s not. What happens is that they do a supplement about every six months or so, and they settle this lot out and because Parliament keeps producing new laws. So what you’ve now got in the 2015 is not just this but also you’ll then have a further supplement coming out as well of 200 odd pages. So that’s what you get for your money. You can get it electronically; I think it costs a bit more. I am possibly a bit traditional, I find it easier to work on paper than I do off a computer screen, but I do use computers all the time. So Family Court Practice – 2015. Have fun!

It’s hard work getting your head around it. I accept that and it can be daunting, but persevere and you’ll be fine.

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