How Coronavirus Affects Family Law Cases?

There are many individuals questioning how Coronavirus affects family law cases?

Well, Mr Justice Mostyn (Judge) has released a statement about how future financial remedy cases should be handled in light of the spread of Covid-19.

These are the proposed measures:

The number of face to face hearings will greatly reduce

This will mean that there will be less face to face hearings and these types of hearings will only proceed if they are completely unavoidable. The hearings will now take place by way of digital means (video conferencing).

The physical handling and lodging of bundles are to be avoided

This is a positive step that will hopefully have a long-term impact. This will mean that we should all avoid physical bundles where applicable. We have an excellent protocol that explains this and it can be found here https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/financial-remedies-courts-e-bundles-protocol/.

FRC Judges should work from home as much as possible

Well, not much to add to this point.

Accelerated Paper-Only First Appointment Hearings

This accelerated process should be used wherever possible and would mean no physical hearing at all. The protocol can be found within schedule four here https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/FRC-Good-Practice-Protocol-November-2019.pdf. There will be more judicial discretion with consent orders routinely being accepted when dealing with first appointments.

More Private Financial Dispute Resolution Hearings (FDRs)

With the reduction in face to face hearings, the parties are now encouraged to hold private FDRs. These should proceed remotely so attendance is not necessarily required. The legal representatives should, without any problems at all, be able to provide you the technology to enable this.

What about other hearings?

It follows, that other hearings should be by way of video conferencing software (i.e. Skype for Business).

These are positive steps that will assist in these difficult times.

It is hoped that some of these changes can have a long-term impact as they could make our system more efficient and cost-effective for all clients.

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