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Family hearings will continue to be held remotely in 2021

26 April 2021

Sharon McKie

Online zoom meeting

Family hearings will continue to be held remotely in 2021

Face to face attendance at the family court is still being kept to a minimum in 2021. Courts are working closely with Public Health England to minimise any risk to court users and staff, with fortnightly meetings and site visits where necessary.

A number of court staff and judges have tested positive and are working with the Department for Health and Social Care as to the vaccine rollout. Lateral flow testing for court users is being piloted in Manchester. Whether court users can carry out home testing is also being considered. Courts are using Cloud Video Platform where possible to conduct hearings. Whilst this is preferable to a telephone hearing, many hearings are still taking place by BTMeet Me.

The Lord Chief Justice said in January 2021

“no participant in legal proceedings should be required by a judge to attend court unless it is necessary in the interest of justice. Facilitating remote attendance of all or some of those involved in hearings is the default position in all jurisdictions”

At the moment, all initial family hearings remain remote. Where a matter has been listed for a final hearing, this is likely to be face to face in the court building as this is often deemed to be in the interest of justice. However, even a final hearing could be conducted remotely.

If you have any concerns about how a hearing is being conducted, or have any other family queries, please speak to our Family Team, contact Taylor Bracewell on 01302 341414 or alternatively email Sharon.m@taylorbracewell.co.uk

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