Family Court Hearings Update

The Covid 19 crisis has caused much change and disruption since March 2020.  However, as the current lockdown starts to ease, what does this mean for the local Family Court? Over the past four months, Family Court hearings have taken place remotely by telephone conference or video call which has worked well.  In some instances, cases have had to be adjourned due to the nature of the hearing and relisted for a later date.

Many of the local courts in the South East are now starting to re-open with social distancing measures in place. Despite this, guidance is still firm.  Where possible, hearings in the Family Court should take place remotely by telephone call or video conference. Certainly, we are finding that most hearings being listed from now to December are to take place by telephone conference.

If you do find that your hearing is to take place at the Family Court and you have to attend in person, be aware that face coverings are now mandatory. This was implemented on 27th July.

This means you may be required to wear a face mask in the court room unless advised to remove it for identification purposes or to give evidence. You should bring your own  face mask with you and not rely on the court to provide you with one, Furthermore you will still need to adhere to social distancing of 2 metres as well as ensuring that you sanitise your hands regularly.

Although wearing a face mask is now mandatory at court, certain litigants can be exempt from this if they have a disability or health issue, are deaf and need to lip read or if wearing a face mask would cause distress.

Anyone with a forthcoming court hearing is advised to check at least 48 hours before their hearing to see how it will take place and to provide their contact numbers

It is not clear how long the current arrangements will continue but, until further guidance is provided, we must assume this will continue for the foreseeable future.

You should not be put off from issuing applications at the Family Court and we can guide you through the whole process making it easier and less stressful for you.