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Entries in training (4)


‘Lay Assistant’ free training course to run in Edinburgh in November.

Families Need Fathers Scotland is recruiting for a ‘lay assistant’ free training course to run in Edinburgh in November.

As the number of party litigants appears to be increasing steadily in family law actions FNF Scotland has been aware of the importance of the support and steadying influence a lay assistant can have both in court and before court in keeping focus on the important issues at hand.

FNF Scotland National Manager, Ian Maxwell, says, “We ran a successful pilot course in Glasgow last month, introducing prospective lay assistant volunteers to the role they can play and the support they can give. We are clear that they’re not surrogate solicitors and aren’t there to give legal advice. But they are there to assist the party litigant - and the court - by taking notes of what is said during proceedings and keeping track of any documents that may be referred to during a child welfare hearing or, more crucially, during a proof.

There has been more use of lay assistants in other areas of civil litigation such as debt or housing but we have noticed the increased number of people who are opting to represent themselves in contact and residence cases. They do for a variety of reasons but the main one is that they find their earnings are just above the SLAB threshold but aren't enough to cope with legal fees that can quickly turn into thousands.”

Depending on demand the course will run over two sessions in mid November and includes presentations by FNF Scotland staff and family law solicitors, video simulations and role play. The training is free, funded by the Scottish Government's Volunteering Support Fund. Further courses will be run in Aberdeen and Stirling in early 2017.

Ian Maxwell says, “Our overall aim is a review of family law to reduce the adversarial nature of resolving arrangements for parenting of children after separation. We always advise negotiation or mediation rather than litigation. In the meantime we can’t ignore the rising number of party litigants and this training is aimed at helping them present their case as efficiently and effectively as possible in the interests not only of the court but in the interests of the children involved.

Anyone interest in signing up for the training should contact Alastair Williamson or ring 0131 557 2440.


Court training events in Glasgow and Edinburgh

We are holding two training sessions in March for those who are either currently or considering acting as a party litigant or are interested in acting as a lay assistant or lay representative.  Being a party litigant means that you are conducting your own case in court rather than being represented by a lawyer. A Child Welfare Hearing is usually the first court hearing in a case involving contact or residence arrangements for children.

The first session in Glasgow on the 20th of March 2015 is on preparing for a Child Welfare Hearing and will cover topics such as the Drafting of the Initial Writ, Evidence, Legal Correspondence and Alternative Dispute Resolutions. The session aims to provide attendees with a basic understanding of what needs to be prepared and how their case will progress prior to the child welfare hearing itself.

There are 15 places available for the first training event which will be held at 24 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4BG - tickets available here.

The second session is in Edinburgh on the 27th of March 2015, split into three areas,  the Child Welfare Hearing itself, Bar Reports and Proof Hearings. Attendees will get a clearer idea of the purpose of the Child Welfare Hearing and how to present their case adequately including basic advocacy skills.

There are 15 places available for this training session at 10 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh EH12 5AA - tickets available here.

All tickets are free but donations would be appreciated.  These events have been organised by Rebecca Simmonds our student intern.

Party litigants should also see our guide to representing yourself in the Scottish family courts.


Parenting training session for separated fathers

FNF Scotland is collaborating with the Parent Network Scotland to run parenting training sessions, with the next one taking place in Glasgow on Thursday 24th January from 6-8pm.

This session will explore the experiences of the fathers attending, and look at understanding the links between behaviour, feelings and needs in children and teenagers.

Attendance is free, but places should be booked by emailing ian.maxwell@fnf.org.uk.


Helping fathers get more support

A new online resource for people working with fathers called "Helping Men" is now available

It’s got lots of tips, research, news and best practice guides on making public services and social projects more accessible to men and boys

They have also launched a quick online survey for professionals to take that explores why men are generally less likely to get help than women.