A judge in a District Court in a rural town made a local Practice Direction that reports be delivered to lawyers for parents at least two days in advance of a hearing so that they could be discussed with the clients.
A solicitor who represented parents in child care proceedings complained to the judge that the reports from the social workers and guardian ad litem (GAL) had been received within an hour of her coming into court to represent the parents. As the reports had been given to her so late, she had not had time to print them. She could not even go through these reports with her clients. She said it was unfair to the parents, to her and caused a delay in the court list. She asked the judge to make a direction that reports be sent to her three days in advance of the court date.
The judge discussed this matter with the legal practitioners present in court. She made a local Practice Direction that reports be sent at least two days in advance of the hearing to permit legal practitioners discuss the reports with their clients.