With effect from 27 November 2017 the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010) will be amended to include provision for the participation of vulnerable persons (including children) in family proceedings, and the giving of evidence by vulnerable persons. The new rules include provision for the court to make ‘participation directions’ as well as the power to appoint an intermediary whose functions would include communicating questions put to a witness or party. Amongst other things the court must have regard to: the impact of any actual or perceived intimidation; whether the party or witness suffers from mental disorder/other significant impairment of intelligence or social functioning, has a physical disability/disorder, is undergoing medical treatment; the age/maturity and understanding of the party/witness; and their social/cultural/ethnic/domestic background, etc.
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