How will coronavirus affect my family court case?
Family matters are stressful at the best of times but during these uncertain times, it is understandable that those who are amidst legal proceedings are wondering how COVID-19 will affect family courts and their cases as a result.
Our Family Law team have put together some guidance on their position on hearings and cases going forward and, although every case will be considered on a case-by-case basis, explain the general position of the family courts.
Will my case go ahead?
Court cases will still be going ahead and the court will endeavour to function as normally as possible. However, there will be some initial disruption to cases as hearings are to be heard remotely wherever possible.
The default position is for hearings to take place either via telephone, email, Skype or other video link.
If a hearing is urgent and cannot be heard remotely then, if it is safe to do so, the court will endeavour to arrange a face-to-face hearing. However, there may be a limit on the number of people that attend. Precautions will also be in place for certain areas of the court, such as waiting areas.
If your case cannot be heard remotely, due to complexity or the requirement of live evidence, then an application will need to be made to have the hearing adjourned and moved to a different date.
How can I find out if my case will be heard in person or remotely?
If you have instructed us, details on the suitability for remote hearings have been circulated amongst our Family team. If you have an upcoming hearing, please contact your solicitor. They can discuss arrangements for a remote hearing or to plan an adjournment with you. You can find contact details for our Family lawyers here.
Despite this period of uncertainty, our Family solicitors are working extremely hard to ensure all cases remain in hand. Working remotely, we’ve implemented procedures that enable us to work just as effectively as if we were in the office. We are already utilising the technology suggested by the family courts, and are liaising with them frequently.
Contact your usual solicitor for further information, and keep an eye on our website and social media for further updates.