COVID-19 Update

This is an electronic library of the national and local guidance and precedents for the Family Court published during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated as often as possible, but if you have any further documents to add, please email secretary@wmflba.co.uk.

Mark Cooper, West Midlands FLBA Secretary

Last updated: 8.56am, 17th September 2020


Guidance from the Senior Judiciary


Case Law

A Local Authority v Mother & Ors [2020] EWHC 1086 (Fam)


Wellbeing


FLBA


Circuit Guidance

The Northern Circuit website has regular Covid-19 updates: https://www.northerncircuit.org.uk/covid-19/


Legal Aid Agency and Remuneration Guidance


Cafcass


Experts


Berkshire (Reading, Oxford & Slough)


Birmingham


Birmingham (Financial Remedies Court)


Bristol (Avon, Somerset & Gloucestershire)


Cambridge, Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire

No local guidance has been issued. Please adhere to the President’s guidance.


Cardiff

No local guidance has been issued. Please adhere to the President’s guidance.


Central Family Court (London)


Cornwall


Coventry


Cumbria


Derby


Devon (Exeter, Plymouth & Torquay)


Dorset (Bournemouth)

The local guidance has been rescinded. Please follow the national guidance.


East London


Essex & Suffolk


Humber


Kent

The following summary has been provided by Peter Donaghey (Partner at Davis Simmonds & Donaghey):

The guidance has been that Judges should makes decisions on a case by case basis. Facilities are in place to deal with hearings where parties are represented or unrepresented.  The guidance is that BT meetme or Skype for business should be used but not Zoom to facilitate remote hearings without first discussing the issue with the DFJ.  CVP is going to be introduced as soon as possible.

A number of cases due to be before  Circuit Judges have been considered and where appropriate adjourned for when it is hoped a face to face hearing can take place.  District Judges are reviewing cases closer to the hearing dates.  At tier 1 no contested hearings are taking place remotely due to technical issues.  A duty system has been set up for legal advisers to deal with agreed orders with lay Judges available to approve the same.  Cases at tier 1 which are not agreed are being transferred to be heard before a DJ.  

Maidstone Court is open for any face to face hearings however the guidance is that no party or professional is under an obligation to attend in person.  A duty rota of Judges has been arranged.  These Judges will be dealing with their usual remote hearings but also any face to face hearings which arise.  The last update from the Court service was that no such hearing had taken place but this was in the early days of the Court re-opening.

There are also two documents available:


Leeds

No formal written guidance, but regular meetings held with the DFJ and Leeds practitioners.


Leicester


Lincolnshire


Liverpool, Chester & Merseyside


Luton & Bedfordshire

No local guidance has been issued. Please adhere to the President’s guidance.


Manchester


Newcastle DFJ Area

See below for Teeside DFJ Area


North Wales


Northampton


Norwich/Norfolk

No local guidance has been issued by the Family Court. However, there is local guidance from the County Court, which refers to family cases:


Portsmouth (including Southampton & Basingstoke)


Sheffield & South Yorkshire


Somerset


Stoke-on-Trent


Surrey DFJ Area


Sussex DFJ Area


Swansea


Teeside DFJ Area


West London


Wolverhampton & Telford


Worcester


York


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