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Home > News > Lockdown 3.0 and The Family Court

Lockdown 3.0 and The Family Court

21 January 2021 |

 

Heading into the third week of restrictions Family solicitor Jen Pollock answers some frequently asked questions regarding how the Family Court operates during Lockdown.

 

Are the Family Courts still open during Lockdown?

The Family Courts have made it clear that they will continue to function during Lockdown 3.0, this means that you can still apply for a divorce, financial order or child arrangement order as per usual. However, The Courts are trying to ensure that the number of people physically in the Court building is kept to a minimum.

 

Does this mean my hearing will be cancelled?

Most hearings will still be going ahead, however the default position is that these should happen remotely (by video link or telephone). Unless there are specific circumstances that make it necessary for some or all parties to attend the Court building.

 

How does a remote hearing work?

The benefit of being 10 months into this pandemic is that the Court now has all the systems in place to be able to facilitate the smooth running of hearings remotely. Shorter hearings usually take place by telephone, with the Court calling out to all the parties at the start of the hearing. The Judge will conduct the hearing in the same way as if the parties were at Court. At the start of the call the Judge will ask everyone to confirm that they are all alone and that the hearing is not being recorded.   Longer hearings, or hearings that involve parties giving evidence are usually listed for a video hearing by CVP or MSN Teams. The Court will send a link out to all parties in advance by email together with joining instructions.

 

If I have to go to the Court for a hearing should I wear a facemask?

When you enter the Court building you should wear a facemask/face covering, unless you are exempt. The Judge may invite parties to remove their facemask when they are addressing the Court or giving evidence. If there is a particular reason that this would be difficult for you, you should let the Court know in advance so that other options can be considered.

 

Is the lockdown causing delays at Court?

The Family Courts are trying hard to minimise any delays, however the reality of the environment in which they are operating has meant that applications are taking longer to be issued, and hearings taking longer to be listed in most private law cases. If you are concerned about the delays in your case, there may be options you can explore with your solicitor such as private financial dispute resolution hearings or private adjudication of financial disputes.

 

What do I do if I have an urgent issue that needs a Court Order?

The Courts are still able to deal with emergency and urgent applications swiftly and without undue delay. If your issue is urgent, especially if it involves domestic abuse or the safeguarding of a vulnerable person or child you should seek legal help immediately.

 

Specialist family lawyers

Don’t forget we are here for you, to advise, represent and support you through your case.

The GL Law Family Team are currently offering a Free Discovery Call to help you to find out where you stand legally and to provide advice on your next best steps.

To contact our team of specialist family lawyers in Bristol or London, please call 0117 906 9400 or email hello@gl.law.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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