Coronavirus bulletin, edition 2
Friday, 27 March 2020
- HMCTS has consolidated the work of courts and tribunals into fewer buildings in order to maintain a core justice system through the duration of the pandemic. This will ensure that essential hearings that must still be held in person can go ahead while complying with public health advice. There will be 157 priority court and tribunal buildings open for essential face-to-face hearings only.
- Parents of children who are the subject of Child Arrangements Ordersmade by the Family Court have been understandably concerned about their ability to meet the requirements of these court orders safely during the pandemic. A short statement, by the President of the Family Division, is intended to offer advice to those affected. Elsewhere, Cafcass has put together advice to support children and familiesthrough this period and practice guidance for international child abduction cases has temporarily been amended.
- The Judicial Office has published a number of important Coronavirus updates by jurisdiction as well as issuing guidance for Family and County Court Judges. The Lord Chancellor has also authorised that court staff may waive the application fee to adjourn a civil or family hearing because of coronavirus.
- The Legal Aid Agency has released a Q&A about arranging remote family hearings, conferences and meetings. It also includes information about payments, fees and how they are calculated.
- Conducting business over online video meetings will become the new normal over the coming months. Jo O’Sullivan has put together an addendum to the Participation Agreement for online video meetings which will be hugely useful for members.
- Resolution’s National Chair Margaret Heathcote joined the President of the Family Division on a conference call alongside representatives of FLBA, ALC and others this morning. They will be meeting regularly over the coming months to feedback on how measures are working on the ground. So we can co-ordinate constructive feedback, please complete and share our survey.
- With more people now working remotely, we have noticed an increase in members updating their Resolution profile to reflect their home address rather than that of their firms. This is unnecessary as Resolution will be sending all correspondence electronically for the foreseeable future. If you retain your firm name in your profile while updating to your home address, the website will display your home address as public information. If you remove your firm name, your profile will disappear. If you have recently updated your profile with your home address, please login to your account and change this back to avoid any disruption.