The Judge’s Role in a Family Case

Except in cases of emergency or where cases are otherwise urgent, the judge who is deciding the case in the Family Court or the Family Division of the High Court will be sent the papers in the days before the hearing.

At the hearing the judge will hear the evidence from each party and the submissions made by the parties’ lawyers or the parties themselves. The judge will then make a decision based on the evidence heard and the law that applies to the case. In cases concerning children, when making the decision the judge has to put the children’s welfare first. The judge may give a decision orally at the hearing or may give the decision in writing at a later point.

As cases can take time to resolve, efforts are made to ensure that the case has same judge at each hearing if possible, to ensure a consistent approach to dealing with the problems that are being addressed by the Family Court.

Where a party disagrees with the decision of the judge, in certain circumstances they can apply for permission to appeal the decision.