Worried about a Court hearing?
The President of the Family Division on 19 March 2020 gave guidance to be followed with immediate effect by all levels of the Family Court and in the High Court Family Division.
The aim of the guidance is to keep the court “open for business” but safely so that the Family Justice System can continue to function as normally as is possible despite the present pandemic.
The default position, for the time being, is that all Family Court hearings should be undertaken remotely either by email, telephone, video or Skype. Only where the requirements of fairness and justice require a court based hearing, and it is safe to conduct one, then court based hearing should take place.
If both you and the person you have a family dispute with are conducting the case without the assistance of solicitors or other legal representation, then the Court will organise and make the technical arrangements for a remote hearing. The court will circulate the details for the hearing no later than 24 hours prior to the remote hearing taking place.
If you are involved in proceedings involving the Local Authority in matters relating to your children, the Local Authority will make the arrangements for you and your representative. Your legal representative will inform you of the arrangements.
If you are legally represented in a private law case, then your legal representative will make the arrangements and tell you what will happen.
However, if you have legal representation but are responding to an application from your previous partner who is acting in person, then your legal representative will be expected to make the arrangements and inform all parties.
We are in exceptional and unprecedented times. The situation both Nationally and Locally is changing daily, if not hourly.
We in the GA Family Team are already very aware of the intensely difficult and highly stressful circumstances legal proceedings can bring and these exceptional times do nothing but exacerbate that stress. We will however do our very best to continue to operate and meet the pressing needs of our existing clients and those who turn to ask for assistance or protection in these very difficult times.