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Covid-19 & Family Courts: remote hearings

There’s been a flurry of new guidance in response to the pandemic and many of our clients are asking what is happening with their hearings.

In the first instance you should contact your legal advisor and they will confirm if and how your hearing is happening. 

But many will be relived to find that the majority of hearings will still happen, but they will be via a remote hearing instead of in person.

  • As of 19 March 2020 the original general guidance from the Lord Chief Justice made it clear that the default position for all the civil courts (including the Family Courts and the Court of Protection) was that hearings should where possible be conducted remotely for one or more participants, with sensible precautions taken if people are attending a court based hearing.
  • On 23 March 2020 they gave a short update on guidance saying that since the spread of COVID- 19 has continued to accelerate, and the clear message from Government is to take all precautions to avoid unnecessary contact, hearings in the civil and family courts requiring the physical presence of parties and their representatives and others should now only take place IF a remote hearing is not possible AND if suitable arrangements can be made to ensure safety.

More information on the protocol of remote hearings can be found here.

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