PRACTICE DIRECTION 27C – ATTENDANCE OF IDVAs AND ISVAs
PLEASE NOTE THIS PD COMES INTO FORCE ON 6 APRIL 2023
This practice direction supplements Part 27 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010
1.1 This practice direction makes provision for the attendance at hearings of Independent Domestic Abuse Advisers (IDVAs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs).
1.2 An IDVA or ISVA is an independent adviser, however described, who works with people (whether adults or children) who have experienced domestic abuse (in the case of an IDVA) or rape and sexual assault (in the case of an ISVA) by providing them with support, advice and help.
1.3 This may take the form of (but is not limited to) providing information, practical support and emotional or moral support, help in dealing with authorities or other support services, and may include explaining the court process and what to expect; but an IDVA or ISVA is not a legal representative or McKenzie friend.
1.4 Any party to family proceedings who is receiving support from an ISVA or IDVA has the right to receive that support at any hearing, subject to the court’s power as set out in paragraph 3.1 to direct otherwise
Requirement to attend
2.1 An IDVA or ISVA who is providing support to a party is required to attend any hearing which the party attends, for the purpose of providing that support during the hearing, if— (a) the party wishes the IDVA or IDVA to be present at the hearing; and (b) the IDVA or ISVA has been appropriately identified to the court.
Court's power to direct otherwise
3.1 The court may direct that the IDVA or ISVA—
(a) should not be present, if the court is satisfied that it is not in the interests of justice for the IDVA or ISVA to be present, or continue to be present, at the hearing; or
(b) need not be present, if the court is satisfied that it is not necessary in the interests of justice for the IDVA or ISVA to be present, or continue to be present, at the hearing.
Notification to the court
4.1 Where possible, an IDVA or ISVA should identify themselves to the court in advance by—
(a) providing their name and details of the organisation for which they work together with an assurance that they understand the confidential nature of the proceedings; and
(b) indicating the party to whom they are providing support and confirming that the party wishes them to be present.
4.2 Where this is not possible in advance, the court will require the IDVA or ISVA to provide the information referred to in paragraph 4.1 before the hearing begins.