The social distancing measures in place in view of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has presented challenges for the family justice system, the Family Courts, professionals and the public.
There are many ways to access and set up meetings remotely. Further practical, easy to follow quick guidance is needed on the use of remote court hearings.
It is welcome to see that Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, has identified a need for guidance on the use of remote hearings. He announced on the 14th April 2020 the commencement of a two week consultation period that will run from the 14th April 2020 to the 28th April 2020 on the use of remote hearings in the family justice system. The consultation will be overseen by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and the findings of the consultation will be passed to Sir Andrew McFarlane. Hopefully further practical easy to follow guidance will be issued to everyone in May 2020.
By way of an update, the following is extracted from the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory website.
‘…The consultation will seek views from those who have had experience of a remote hearing (namely a hearing that has been conducted by telephone, skype or by other remote platform) and/or those with expertise or other relevant experience.
• Have you had direct experience of a remote hearing?
• If yes, what sort of hearing was it, which court centre was involved, through which remote method was it conducted and what was your role?
• What factors worked well?
• Did you have any concerns?
• If you have concerns, do you consider that this way of working was justifiable in the short term?
• How could the experience be improved in dealing with the current crisis?
• Have you had any direct feedback from lay clients or third parties (intermediaries/interpreters/experts) as to their experience of the remote hearing?
• Are you happy to be contacted for further questions?’
Consultation responses should be sent to : firstname.lastname@example.org