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Covid – 19 | Our services to new and existing clients remain unchanged even if we are working remotely. New and existing clients can arrange telephone appointments on 01323 727321 or info@hartreade.co.uk and we would be happy to help you. We can progress your matter by telephone, email and post, whichever is your preference.

Coronavirus – How Will This Affect My Court Case In The Family Court?

Family Law

You may be concerned about how your Court case in the Family Court will be affected during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is important that you still have access to the justice system during this unprecedented time.

Will I have to attend Court?

Wherever possible Court Hearings will take place as listed but are likely to take place remotely either via telephone or video link to avoid physical attendance at Court. If your case is considered suitable to be dealt with by telephone or video link you will be contacted by the Court. This may be at short notice. Where physical attendance at Court is considered necessary for priority Hearings social distancing measures are in place but you should not attend Court if you are self-isolating.

What if I cannot attend Court?

If your physical attendance is still required at Court but you are unable to attend due to the Coronavirus (e.g. if you are self-isolating) you can request that your case be adjourned (i.e. moved to a later date) and a Judge will consider your request. The Judge may either adjourn the Hearing or make an Order that the Hearing takes place by telephone or video link if that is thought appropriate. In certain cases, the fee for an application to adjourn a Hearing will be waived.

How do remote Hearings work?

The Court Order will set out exactly what steps you need to take to set this up or take part. Teleconferencing is likely to take place using BTMeetMe and video conferencing is likely to take place using Skype or Video Cloud Platform. Further guidance can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hmcts-telephone-and-video-hearings-during-coronavirus-outbreak#using-existing-technology-and-making-new-technology-available

What guidance is the Court giving?

The Courts are issuing operational guidance regularly about the way in which they are dealing with cases in the Family Courts. The Court’s current and previous operational guidance notes can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hmcts-daily-operational-summary-on-courts-and-tribunals-during-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

What changes have the Courts already made?

Can I make an application digitally?

In some matters you can make an application digitally and those include Non-Molestation Orders (domestic abuse or violence injunction) if you do not have a solicitor acting for you, Child Arrangement Orders and Divorce.

Contacting the Court

When contacting the Court ensure you clearly state the names of the parties, case number, date of any Hearing and your contact details. This will enable the Court to deal with your matter as quickly as possible.

If you would like advice on family matters or any other issues please contact us to arrange a telephone/video appointment.

Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary.  It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.

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Author: Alexandra Funnell. Co-Head of Family Department, Partner