In January 2017, a unique procedure for resolving financial issues was introduced in the Blackburn Family Court aiming to potentially reduce the cost of being represented in court.
The Blackburn Early Evaluation Protocol (“BEEP”) has been designed to allow for a more streamlined court procedure with potentially fewer hearings than would otherwise be the case. Under this protocol, a Judge will evaluate the issues in the case and offer guidance on the likely outcome much sooner than in the normal procedure. Often this guidance can be crucial to the parties reaching an agreement. These factors should reduce potential legal costs making representation more affordable and also result in a quicker settlement of disputes.
To participate in BEEP both parties must be represented by a solicitor. Both solicitors (and the court) must agree that it is a case appropriate for BEEP. This is not necessarily a low asset case but one where the aspects that cannot be agreed are reasonably narrow.
How has it gone? Anecdotally from the District Judges involved in this protocol there has been a good measure of success with cases settling following guidance given by the Judge at the first hearing. It remains a procedure the court offers and it is hoped that the take up of this procedure will increase in 2018.
If you are getting divorced, struggling to agree finances with your ex and are worried about going to court then speak to one of our specialist family lawyers to explore if BEEP may be for you. Call us on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.