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Remote hearings in the family justice system: follow-up consultation report from Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

Date:4 NOV 2020
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Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the introduction of social distancing measures, the family courts in England and Wales rapidly adapted to using telephone and video hearings. In light of this significant change, the President of the Family Division asked the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory to undertake a rapid consultation on the use of remote hearings in the family court. The consultation ran for a two-week period from 14 to 28 April 2020 and well over 1,000 people responded.
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Most professionals who responded to the survey felt that things were working more smoothly—either all of the time or some of the time. Professionals reported that there were some benefits to working remotely, for professionals and parties.

Parents, other family members and organisations supporting parents were less positive about remote hearings. The majority of parents and family members had concerns about the way their case had been dealt with and just under half said they had not understood what had happened during the hearing.

You can read the full report here.

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