The A to Z of Financial Remedies Abbreviations

Published: 09/05/2024 15:31

Family law and particularly financial remedy cases involve a wealth of acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations. This can be daunting particularly for trainees, junior practitioners and clients alike when they are beginning to navigate this process. The glossary below sets out some of the most common terms used by solicitors, barristers, judges and the court and is intended to function as a user-friendly aide-memoire to some of the more common expressions to be found in this area of law.

ADRAlternative Dispute Resolution – this is a collective term that refers to alternatives to court such as mediation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation and collaborative law.
BudgetAlso known as a ‘Schedule of [Annual/Monthly] Expenditure’ which sets out an individual (and also their children’s) income needs by separating out their day-to-day expenditure into separate categories. This is completed as part of the financial disclosure process (see ‘Form E’ below) as Section 3.1 of the Form E requires each party to set out their income needs.
CFCShorthand for the ‘Central Family Court’ in Holborn, London. Other courts do not lend themselves to quite such easy abbreviation!
D81Form D81, Statement of Information – this is the form that both parties are required to complete when filing an agreed consent order with the court. The form requires each party to set out their current asset and income position and what this will look like following the implementation of the order.
ES1A document summarising the headline aspects of a case that is required to be completed by the parties and filed with the court in advance of each hearing.
ES2An asset schedule in Excel that is required to be completed by the parties and filed with the court in advance of each hearing. The ES2 is a particular asset schedule template which shows each party’s position on the value of every asset as well as their incomes in a separate column. Its purpose is to enable the judge to see at a glance the assets and any disputes in the case at a glance.
FDAFirst Directions Appointment – also known as a ‘First Appointment’. This is usually the first hearing in a financial remedies application. If the parties are able to agree directions, this hearing can be vacated or, if the case is ready to proceed to meaningful negotiations, the parties can apply to convert the hearing into an FDR (see definition below).
FDRFinancial Dispute Resolution hearing. This is usually the second hearing in a financial remedies application. It is a without prejudice hearing (see ‘WP’ below) that involves each party setting out their position to a judge who gives an indication, or early neutral evaluation as to how they would decide the case as if they were sitting as a judge at a final hearing. After this steer, the parties are expected to negotiate in the hope of achieving a settlement.
First Appointment documentationA collective term for the following documents that are required to be prepared in advance of a First Appointment hearing:
  • Chronology;
  • Statement of Issues;
  • Questionnaire; and
  • Form G – Notice of Response to First Appointment (see definition below).
FMHFormer Matrimonial Home – the home the parties lived in together during their marriage.
Form AA standard form a party completes when they wish to commence financial remedy proceedings. This form can be completed online via the MyHMCTS portal (see definition below) by a solicitor acting for their client.
Form CThe form also entitled ‘Notice of First Appointment’ which notifies the parties of the hearing listing and the deadlines for filing their Form E and First Appointment documents.
Form EA form also known as the Financial Statement which each party is required to complete in advance of the first appointment hearing (or FDA). This is a detailed form that requires the parties to set out their personal details and all their assets, income and liabilities with supporting documentation.
Form E1The Form E1 is a financial statement that parties to a Schedule 1 application should complete. It is similar to a Form E but is in a slightly more truncated form and requires less supporting documentation.
Form E2The Form E2 is a financial statement that parties to a variation application (where one seeks to vary a final order) should complete.
Form GThe form also known as a ‘Notice of Response to First Appointment’ which essentially responds to the Form C (see definition above) and is completed by each party in advance of the first appointment hearing to confirm to the court whether that party believes the case is ready for an FDR.
Form HThe form also known as an ‘Estimate of Costs’ that each party is required to complete and file with the court to set out their incurred and estimated legal fees in advance of each hearing, save for a final hearing (when a longer form is required see ‘Form H1’ below). The fees are divided into costs incurred by previous solicitors, current solicitors, barristers (counsel) and any other disbursements (such as the cost of an expert or court fee).
Form H1The form also known as a ‘Statement of Costs’ that each party is required to complete and file with the court in advance of a final hearing to set out the legal fees they have incurred at each stage of the proceedings and any anticipated costs of implementing any final order. It is a much more detailed version of the Form H.
FPRFamily Procedure Rules – the rules governing the way family practitioners should conduct cases.
LOILetter of instruction – usually to an expert or SJE (see definition below) setting out what that expert is required to do when preparing their report.
LSPOLegal Services Payment Order – an order that requires one party to make a payment or series of payments to the other party’s solicitors so that the receiving party can afford legal representation. This order is usually only made if the receiving party has proven they are unable to secure litigation funding.
MCAThe Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 – the key legislation for financial remedy cases and is currently being reviewed by the Law Commission in respect of potential reform. Section 25 sets out the considerations the court will have when considering a fair outcome.
MIAMMediation Information and Assessment Meeting – a meeting with a mediator that a party must attend in advance of filing their Form A (see definition above) unless an exemption applies.
MPSMaintenance Pending Suit – an order for one party to make regular payments to another party to meet their income needs on an interim basis during proceedings.
MyHMCTSMyHMCTS is the court’s online portal where applications, orders and documents relating to a case should be filed when being lodged with the court. This has replaced the previous method of filing documents with the court via email and has been mandatory since 31 January 2023.
Note/PS/Position StatementCounsel’s Note, also known as a Position Statement, prepared for a party to the proceedings in advance of a hearing, which usually has to be filed with the court by 11am the day before the hearing subject to the listing of the latter.
N260A form a party should complete if they are seeking a summary assessment of costs so a costs order can be made. This is a much more detailed form than the Form H which divides the legal fees incurred into different categories and tasks.
PAGThe Pensions Advisory Group who prepared the PAG report (see definition below).
PAG report (also: PAG2)A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce published in July 2019. An essential tool for practitioners when considering this particularly tricky area of the law which includes a helpful steer on many topics. A long-awaited sequel, ‘PAG 2’, was published in late December 2023 with important updates for all practitioners.
Part 25 applicationAn application made under Part 25 of the Family Procedure Rules (FPR) to seek an order for an expert’s involvement in a case (such as a property valuation or a pension report).
PDAbbreviation for ‘Practice Direction’ which accompanies the FPR (see definition above). Practice Directions provide guidance to family practitioners as to how the rules should be applied.
PODEPension on Divorce Expert – an expert who can be instructed to report on pension sharing.
PP (‘PP’s)Periodical payments, also known as ‘maintenance’ – regular payments that one party can be ordered to make to another party following the proceedings.
PSOPension sharing order – an order for a pension to be shared with the other party.
PSAPension sharing annex – the form that accompanies an order that contains a PSO (see definition above), that sets out the details of the pension to be shared including the percentage of the pension to be split.
RCJThe Royal Courts of Justice in London, also known as the High Court.
Schedule 1This is shorthand for Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 and refers to the statutory regime that unmarried parents can apply to the court under to seek financial provision for their children.
SJESingle Joint Expert – an expert that is instructed jointly by both parties with the aim of resolving a disputed point (e.g. the value of an asset) for the purpose of the proceedings.
SPPSpousal periodical payments or spousal maintenance – regular payments that one party can be ordered to make to their spouse following the proceedings.
WPWithout Prejudice – privileged communications that represent a genuine attempt to settle a matter. This could be a letter labelled ‘WP’ or ‘without prejudice’ or an entire hearing, such as the FDR (see definition above).
WPSATCWithout Prejudice Save As To Costs – privileged communications that represent a genuine attempt to settle a matter but can be viewed by a judge when they come to determine the discrete issue of whether a costs order should be made. Such communications are only permitted in financial remedy applications when dealing with interim applications, not the substantive dispute itself.

The above represents a non-exhaustive list of the most commonly encountered terms in my day-to-day practice. I expect some readers will notice a key omission or two and their contributions are welcomed so they can be added to a further update.

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