Following on from the 2016 report on enforcement of financial orders by the Law Commission, the Justice Minister Lucy Frazer has written to the Commission, setting out the Government’s plans to improve the situation.
The current plans include rationalising the rules on enforcement set out in the Family Procedure Rules 2010, so that the law and procedure can be found in one place and is easier to understand and use. In particular, there is a proposal to revise the general enforcement application to make it fit for purpose and to amend or rewrite other relevant court forms so that debtors and creditors better understand the process and the need to provide specific financial information. Other plans include providing new guidance for litigants so that they understand the process and streamlining the system to reduce the number of hearings where possible.
Ideas currently being considered by the government include providing the court with wide powers to obtain information from third parties about a debtor’s assets; extending existing methods of enforcement to assets that currently could not be enforced against (for example pension assets and joint bank accounts); enabling the court to apply pressure to debtors who had the means to pay but were refusing to do so, for example by disqualifying them from driving or preventing them from travelling out of the country.
For a summary of the plans written by the Law Commission, which contains links to all the relevant documents, see https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/financial-order-reforms-set-to-boost-unfairly-treated-former-partners-and-families/.