In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Civil and Family Courts have issued guidance on what will happen to hearings listed over the coming months. Before the government announced its ‘Rules on Staying Home and Away from Others’, the court advised that it would only be sitting to hear urgent cases such as protective orders in domestic violence cases.
Judges have been instructed to work remotely and parties have been advised to assist in organising remote hearings. This will either be by telephone in the case of directions hearings or video conferencing where live evidence is required. Parties are encouraged to file electronic documentation where possible and to agree orders between themselves.
Although the courts are quickly adjusting to remote hearings, the message from the judiciary is that the show must go on. We are already in contact with other parties and solicitors to actively manage the court in setting up conferencing facilities. We are fortunate that we have a strong connection with like-minded family solicitors who value the importance of progressing matters quickly and efficiently. We will work closely with all parties to agree directions where possible, and if that is not the case we are well prepared to attend hearings remotely with our clients.
If you would like more information on the court process generally and how this guidance may affect you, please contact a member of the Family Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the Team will be in touch.