I'm due in court for the final hearing next week. What are the chances of the courts closing before then if a lockdown does come into place?
Also should a lockdown come into place or in light of the reduced social interaction do you think preventing child access would stand up. Just thinking ahead as I expect my childs mother to attempt to stop contact any time soon because of the outbreak
I heard the stance of the courts is to remain open as far as possible; the contingency plan in place is to arrange videoconferences etc... so that critical hearings can go ahead. I imagine alot of emphasis would be placed on the word "critical" as courts would probably prefer not to shut altogether and then have a backlog of hearings to catch up on.
I don't think in this instance that the courts would accomodate C79 applications relating to breaches of court orders, the get-out clause for the mother's would be to blame the epidemic and suggest they are looking out for the kids best interests. Yes, load of old cobblers but the courts would expect the parents to work together given the situation faced.
The latest guidance from government on how to respond to COVID-19 will clearly have an impact on the operation of all courts in every jurisdiction. It is not realistic to suppose that it will be business as usual in any jurisdiction, but it is of vital importance that the administration of justice does not grind to a halt.
We continue to work closely with others in the justice system, including the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS, to work through the implications of the developing medical position for the operation of the courts.
Given the rapidly evolving situation, there is an urgent need to increase the use of telephone and video technology immediately to hold remote hearings where possible. Emergency legislation is being drafted which is likely to contain clauses that expand the powers in criminal courts to use technology in a wider range of hearings. The Civil Procedure Rules and Family Procedure Rules provide for considerable flexibility.
Our immediate aim is to maintain a service to the public, ensure as many hearings in all jurisdictions can proceed and continue to deal with all urgent matters.
In all things Judicial Office Holders are advised to liaise with leadership judges and HMCTS.
could speed up court hearings if they could be done remotely, once it's settled in. On the other hand, I wonder when parents with care are going to say it's not safe to hand over children due to concerns - I'm sure it won't be long.