As the UK enters week 5 of a nationwide lockdown due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, it is crystal clear that this disease has and will continue to affect everyone; not only from a health perspective but also having a profound impact on the viability of people’s day to day routines. For some, these disruptions have made it impossible to do their jobs as some logistical challenges prove too challenging to overcome.
For the Family Courts, this situation is no different. The inability of people to gather in public places due to strict government guidelines and fears for personal safety and the safety of others, has made it virtually impossible for proceedings of any kind to take place in the usual way. This, however, does not mean that employing the regular channels of justice is not possible during this time. Instead, the court and legal practitioners alike have had to make changes in order to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
In particular, it is important to consider that even though you may not be able to have a face to face meeting, in the usual way, you are still able to instruct a lawyer if you have encountered difficulty within your family life. For instance, our family lawyers at BakerLaw are still holding initial meetings with clients either by way of telephone or Microsoft teams. This has enabled people to get the advice they so require during these unprecedented times.
Furthermore, although a number of the Courts have physically closed, they remain open to conduct proceedings virtually via tele and video conferencing. At the outset, as with any new processes, there were some initial issues to be ironed out from all ends, however, as time has gone on these proceedings have been reported to have been carried out rather seamlessly. This shows not only the court’s adaptability but also its commitment to upholding justice even in times of national emergency.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that not all matters are suitable for this ‘virtual’ format. In fact, it has been the case thus far that for these more complex situations, the Court has sought to defer proceedings until which time government guidance has been amended. As a matter of course, evaluations of the relative complexities within all cases has been conducted by the Court before proceedings are held in order that an appropriate way forward can be ascertained. It remains a top priority of the Court for matters to be carried out in a way that justice will be served.
If you or someone close to you requires advice in relation to a problem you have encountered you are urged to contact us in the usual way. Our family lawyers would be happy to meet with you, albeit virtually, to discuss possible next steps in order to guide you through what might be a particularly difficult time.
In order to book a half an hour free consultation please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in order that arrangements can be made.
We wish you and your family good health in these unprecedented times.