Throughout the pandemic, one such service still available is Family Courts. Traditionally, cases would be held face to face in a court building, however, the service has adapted to the new way of working. Any urgent cases can continue to be heard through remote court hearings including telephone and video conferencing. In summary, if you need the support and protection from the court, we can continue to provide advice and ensure your case is heard.
Specifically, this covers non-molestation and occupation orders. As discussed in a previous article, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate of domestic abuse had increased considerably. It is important to know, that the court is available to ensure the right protections are put in place to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service) are providing daily updates to the impact of Covid-19 on cases, and the court system in general. Information about the latest updates to the service can be found here. Updates and guidance from the judiciary can be also found here.
Do you need urgent help or advice
Holmes Family Law is offering free consultations to victims of domestic abuse. If instructed, we can ensure that we expedite your case for a hearing in the Family Court, whilst providing the right advice and the support you need for the protection of you and your loved ones. Although some courts are closed, with our expert knowledge, we can take care of all of the necessities, applications and paperwork.
How does a remote hearing work?
A remote hearing works by using phone or video calls. This allows you to protect your health by ensuring you can stay at home and use the latest technology to communicate with the court. This may involve the use of a traditional telephone call, Skype or the Court’s own video conferencing system. As always, we can advise you on the best method to use based on your circumstances and your access to the relevant technology.
The Court had provided guidance on the use of video and telephone hearings and this can be accessed here. Our team as always will provide you with guidance based on your own case and circumstances, and if instructed, we can offer advice on the best method to ensure your case is heard as quickly as possible.
Is it just emergency cases that are being heard?
Remote case hearings can generally be suited to all types of family law cases, and going forward, it is more and more likely that this will become the new normal. As the Court is currently running with minimal staff, most no-urgent cases have been adjourned for the time being. Naturally, any emergency cases that impact on the wellbeing or health of a family member (including domestic abuse cases) or any time-sensitive cases are still being heard through remote hearings.
Injunctions (to protect) and any urgent cases involving children are being prioritised. A full list has been provided by the Courts as to which cases will be prioritised during this time. If you currently have a case in the Family Court and need additional advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re currently advising and updating all of our current clients with timeframes as to when your case may be heard.
What if I can’t attend a remote hearing
Please discuss your issues with a member of a team. We can advise about the best way to proceed, and if necessary support in facilitating the ability to ensure your case is heard.
Some problems you may encounter is not having access to the technology to access the remote hearing (this is specifically prevalent in domestic abuse cases where you may of leave home for emergency protection and may not have access to your tablet, laptop, etc), the ability to find a quiet and private space (especially that children are currently not at school) or lack of internet access.
You may also be able to adjourn the hearing depending on your circumstances, and this is something we can facilitate with the Court.
We will work with you in ensuring we represent and prepare your case to be heard in the best possible light.
What about witnesses, evidence and transcripts?
Once were instructed, we will make all arrangements to ensure that your case will be heard in the fairest way, and although remote hearing changes the way we interact with the court, it doesn’t change your ability to access Justice and ensure injunctions are put in place for you and your family’s safety. Our Solicitors will advise you and ensure everything is in place before your hearing is scheduled.
If you have any further questions or concerns around remote hearings, our team will happily help. Contact us today on 0191 500 9337 or 01670 707 338. If you require emergency advice, our out of hours service is always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – on 0191 500 9338.