About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Scott Schedules

It was a thought provoking day in Brentford. I seem to be doing a run of fact finding hearings and I greatly enjoyed the CPD seminar on the subject given last night by my colleague in Chambers, George Butler. The text of the seminar will be posted on the 4 Brick Court website soon. One of the matters which caused the Judge disappointment was the state of the so-called Scott schedules. It was a private law case with allegations of domestice violence. The documents which had been prepared by each party simply set out a list of allegations made by the Applicant in one table with a separate table prepared for the Respondent setting out the responses.

A Scott Schedule is so-called after a Mr Scott, a surveyor, who invented the tool for use in litigation. It is most often used in the Technology & Construction court. It has no set structure in civil litigation as it will depend on the case and the nature of the allegations as to what information will assist the court. This is what the Technology & Construction Court guidance says:

5.6.1 It can sometimes be appropriate for elements of the claim, or any Part 20 claim, to be set out by way of a Scott Schedule. For example, claims involving a final account or numerous alleged defects or items of disrepair, may be best formulated in this way, which then allows for a detailed response from the defendant. Sometimes, even where all the damage has been caused by one event, such as a fire, it can be helpful for the individual items of loss and damage to be set out in a Scott Schedule. The secret of an effective Scott Schedule lies in the information that is to be provided. This is defined by the column headings. The judge may give directions for the relevant column headings for any Schedule ordered by the court. It is important that the defendant’s responses to any such Schedule are as detailed as possible. Each party’s entries on a Scott Schedule should be supported by a statement of truth.

In family cases, Scott schedules can be used to good effect particularly in cases involving domestic violence, injuries to children & the allocation of chattels in ancillary relief or indeed, generally to set out threshold findings sought. The precise contents of the schedule will vary according to the case type but essentially the schedule should give each allegation or item a number, summarise each party's case on each finding and cross reference to any relevant evidence in the bundle. There could also be a final column for the court to record its findings on the allegations although it may be easier for the court to incorporate the schedule into a judgment in which the findings are recorded.

The Judge at Brentford indicated that if proper Scott schedules were not prepared when ordered the court would be likely to adjourn the case for the work to be done, with possible cost penalties.


Lady Portia said...

"the allocation of chattels in ancillary relief"

Gosh the language is so draconian and patriarchal for 2009.

Anonymous said...

Scott Schedule???

But we are talking about human beings not buildings.

No wonder domestic abuse is often over looked in court.

Anonymous said...

Definite cost penaltys would work, possible penaltys suggests a way out.

This procedure is only one in a series of sabotaged attempts to correct a hard-core of recalcitrant practitioners unhappily involved in misplaced litigation over allegations of criminal abuse whereof there is reasonable doubt.

And there is a hard core of genuine but sabotaged cases, buried amidst the anticipated false counter-allegations that do clutter up the courts being not yet deterred

The highest law in the land issues practical directions to the judiciary. As each fails another is tried, but manifold are the ways of institutional sabotage.

Anonymous said...

Also to be included is the use of institutional grooming -the manipulation of professionals who have contact with the victim, so that any allegations of abuse made by the victim are doubted or outright disbelieved.

I have seen a judge agree with a perpetrator that a letter from a psychiatrist was a fake? it was genuine, but the judge was groomed before our very eyes and all were asleep.

I have seen so many Cafcass agents, social workers, lawyers, barristers and judges being groomed by perpetrators of domestic violence and they fail to recognise it.

This is why the victim fell for his/her charm in the first place.

However, when professionals do cop on, their ego prevents them from saying " oh dear, he/she has made me look like a fool.

So to preserve the image, the victims suffer.