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Dealing with the effects of coronavirus in the family courts

Date:17 MAR 2020

Mostyn J has today issued a statement about how financial remedy cases should be dealt with in the light of the COVID-19 situation and Government guidelines.

Unsurprisingly, now face-to-face hearings in courts will only happen when they are completely unavoidable. In other words, hardly ever until the crisis abates. 

The default position is that there will be Skype hearings.

Documents should be filed electronically only. To prevent the risk of the virus passing by manual contact, documents should not be handed into the court.

There will be no need for First Appointments when routine matters can be agreed in a consent order, which judges are encouraged to approve routinely.

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As for the mediation which takes place at Financial Dispute Resolution appointments (FDRs), private FDRs should now be arranged, and again they should take place via Skype.

Surely there will now be a torrent of arbitrations fixed to take place in order to cater for all those final hearings which are now going to be postponed.

We are now truly in the age of home working, and using technology for public benefit.