Help! Applying for Participation Directions (Special Measures) and am unwell

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  • #57519 Report

    Winter Solstice

    Can anyone advise as to how to word /apply for special measures to be put in place for a forthcoming hearing?  I have no idea how to do these things and am so under on all fronts at the moment that I’m in full rabbit in headlights mode.

    I’m a Litigant in Person and recently received notification of a hearing date next month, for which I have to prepare a list of allegations and accompanying statement etc (since we are both alleging domestic abuse) imminently.  That is certainly one challenge given the short timescales and it being the summer holidays and I’m the sole carer of the children.  However I was in hospital for 3 days less than a month ago and just last night had to return to A&E for the same thing (they would have admitted me,  but as I had no one to look after the kids overnight and could kind of manage, I pushed to be discharged and seen to tomorrow for follow-up tests).

    The idea of seeing my ex and being visible to him via remote hearing as is being proposed has sent me into a panic.  But I don’t know where to start with how to formulate a request for special measures which I think needs to be done by early next week, and my physical symptoms are worse today and no doubt exacerbated by the stress.  I also have suspected PTSD, which doesn’t help (undiagnosed but a trauma therapist I saw says that my symptoms are consistent with that diagnosis).  Is there a set formula to follow in asking for such measures?  Could there be scope to ask for a delay to the paperwork, given that I’ve had this medical emergency and preparing all that, which would be a major trigger in itself, at the same time as it being school holidays, is a bit much?

    Very grateful for any help.

    #57522 Report


    Hello there,

    I don’t know specifically about participation directions (special measures) don’t actually know what that is, but did a remote Family court hearin gon something else.

    Having done a remote hearing for a Family Court Matter very recently (a finance matter) and heading for another possible one in a couple of months, perhaps I can offer some tips from what I had to learn very quickly indeed.  I’ll number them for clarity.

    1. There should be a facility whereby you can let the court know that you don’t wish your image (as in video image) to be shown on screen. Ask the Clerk

    2. You can actually phone up the Court Clerk’s office and ask them for advice on correct procedure. They obviously can’t give

    legal advice but it sometimes helps to speak to someone and check you have sent the correct forms in and what you need to do next.

    3. There should be a volunteer service for a volunteer to attend the remote hearing. It is usually called ‘Support in Court’ but they unfortunately are short of volunteers in covid so I didn’t get one in time. It’s worth a try though. Mine at least sent fact sheets through which told me various things about remote hearing.

    4.  Check with the Court Clerk but you are supposed to submit things 48 hours at least in advance and if you can also send by recorded delivery. With mine I was advised that correct procedure would be I also send copy to the ‘other side’ i.e your ex.

    5. With a solicitor obviously they do the bundle but litigants in person have to do their own. The ‘bundle’ simply means the submission that you want to send through.

    6. Be and stay organised. Keep a file of the paperwork you are producing. Use your mum skills!

    7. In the file keep receipts from recorded delivery submissions. This is very important as it will stop you worrying about whether things have got there ok.

    8. Send by email as well. Family Courts send you a reply confirmation.

    9. The Actual hearing mine at least was on Microsoft Teams. Fairly straight forward they send you a link.

    10. Be prepared for your ex not turning up to the hearing. Mine didn’t. I was massively stressed out and in the end it was just me and the judge on Teams and hearing was adjourned. Part of the narcissistic games they play.

    11. Usually a directions hearing is not long. It usually serves the purpose of organising documents and dates for the actual matter itself.

    12. I’m not sure about your illness and whether they would factor that in, but my advice would be to face your fears, prepare and do it. Ask the Clerk what happens if you are unwell on the day. My guess is that you let them know 48 hours beforehand.

    13. When teh remote hearing opens you will see the Clerk come on.

    14. I got massively stressed out beforehand but now I’m glad I did it and it was actually empowering although extremely hard.

    Obviously your hearing where you list incidents is probably a lot more difficult than a finance hearing, but the run up to the hearing I wasn’t in good shape as I found it very triggering. As I said though, I was really glad that I did it afterwards.


    I do wish you all the best with it.

    Oh, one more thing, if you are on a low income you can fill in a form when you pay the application fee to claim it back. Mine cost fifty pounds which was refunded. The actual hearing didn’t cost anything apart from a lot of hard work on my part.

    #57523 Report


    Oh and if you have a disabilty (which you do) you can ask the court to this into account if you wish, reasonable adjustments.

    You can also ask for questions to be repeated.

    If you google Participation Directions (Special Measures) you get the page.

    I’ve had a quick look at it and although in the first instance it may appear to be quite scary, it seems to be saying that a first

    directions hearing is to determine how the evidence of vulnerable persons might be heard.

    For emotional support perhaps join

    Survivors Forum Women’s Aid maybe someone has been through this

    and to tide you over

    116 123 Samaritans you don’t need to be suicidal just they are there for anyone with hurdles.

    #57851 Report

    Winter Solstice

    Belated thanks for your very considered and comprehensive replies – really helpful both in the short and longer terms.  I’ve been a bit offline between trying to “rest” and manage all the impending court stuff.  You used an adjective at the end of point 10 that was spot on….

    #62987 Report


    Just wondered how you got on justine.

    Mine was really tiring but needless to say after eight years odd I got my settlement!

    Just need to live the rest of my life now!

    #62988 Report

    Andrew uk

    I was going to suggest getting a McKenzie Friend but there’s lots of good advice above. I hope it goes well for you. I have a remote hearing coming up. Yes, you don’t need to be seen, and contacting the court is a good idea.

    #62989 Report

    Andrew uk

    I would like to ask something for my own case. I have the FHDRA in February. What happens then? What are the chances of it finishing after that? I’m not sure i can stand a full day in court after this!

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