So as more and more things close around us, how is the family justice system dealing with such an unprecedented challenge.
Here at Morecrofts we are very lucky to have just completed our IT infrastructure upgrade. We are geared up to and have moved seamlessly to remote working. With direct contact problematic in a socially distancing world there will be much more reliance on that technology. For the time being meetings are much more likely to be by telephone, conference call and video calls. E mail will be our gateway of communication to progress cases – as has been the model for many years now. You need to make sure we have your up to date e mail address.
Many of our amazing teams are migrating in spring to a homeworking environment to ensure that the support our great lawyers receive will still be there – as strong as ever. Our conversations have had to move with the times too though and we are all learning to love our new WhatsApp groups. Although I’m not sure I am getting my emojis in the right place. Team meetings are now being renamed a ‘group chat’. It’s all very modern.
But what of the family courts. Today The President of the Family Division has handed down guidance as to how hearings are to take place in these uncertain times. He has indicated that nearly all family hearings will take place remotely. This means by e mail, telephone and video/skype calls. If a more traditional hearing is needed, then one will take place.
So, for many hearings neither the lawyers nor the parties will be in court which will take some getting used to and will increase the importance of prehearing discussions – a lot of which traditionally takes place at the court door.
Family law very often works at great pace and reacts to sudden, new events. These will be useful skills to be in possession of in the weeks ahead.
The important things in this brave new world of family justice are:-
- Keep yourself (and your family) safe
- Keep in touch with your solicitors (and note how to do that via our updates)
- Follow us on social media for updates
- Understand how YOUR hearing will be heard.
But be reassured that we will be here for you as usual, in these very unusual times