The gatekeeping system is being changed, in certain cases gatekeeping will be conducted twice.
New orders and documents are being issued in private law proceedings with a view to speed up the passage of some cases. Where allegations of harm are made more information will be sought and a second gatekeeping review conducted with the aim is of identifying the harm alleged . In this way reports can be ordered and whether a fact finding hearing is needed can be considered sooner.
The waiting list for FHDRA’s is 4 to 6 months, and the safeguarding will often not being done until near the hearing date.
At the first gatekeeping two documents will be sent out to the parties with the order. At the second gatekeeping the legal advisor can then, with the benefit of the safeguarding letter (which has to have been sent by day 25 of allocation) and the parties’ responses decide whether to direct for example a section 7 report before listing the case in a PD 12J list, where the parties will be in attendance. At that hearing a decision can be made about whether to have a fact finding hearing and if not make other directions.
The documents sent out at the first gatekeeping will be either:
a. Private Law Appendix 1 order, or
b. Private Law appendix 2 order (Allegations of Harm) with:
The letter out to parties with the second gatekeeping paragraph; and
The Applicant’s allegationss of alleged harm; or
The Respondent’s allegations of alleged harm.
If there is a second gatekeeping an Appendix 3 order will be made and sent out.
Unfortunately the system, though aims to fast track “harm” cases by recognising them early, does not appear to do that. The schedules of allegations are apparently not being sent out and the reports are not being commissioned early. The delays in listing persist and do not appear to being reduced.