Following the announcement on the 10 June 2021 from the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, a two-week rapid consultation on remote, hybrid and in-person hearings within the family and Court of Protection (COP) systems has taken place and ended on 27 June 2021.
This was the third survey looking into the impact on hearings following the change of location and format. Unlike the previous two, this was a shorter survey and focused questions on which parts of working remotely should be retained, any further issues that occurred and what best actions could be taken to avoid these. Following the relaxation of some lockdown rules, this survey also looked at the experience of attending court in person.
The survey was completed by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO), an independent organisation which is committed to improving life for children and families by putting data and evidence at the heart of family justice system. The NFJO has gathered evidence from families with children and all professionals working in the family justice system, including judges, barristers, solicitors, Cafcass workers, court staff and social workers and the findings of this will be available for the President’s Conference in July.
We will report sooner on the topic as soon as more information is available about in-person hearings in the future.
Joshua Sidding is a Paralegal in the Court of Protection Team of the Costs and Litigation Funding Department at Clarion Solicitors. You can contact him at Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org and 0113 222 3245