A senior judge has provided an update regarding the operation of the Central Family Court during the latest lockdown.
Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts, Designated Family Judge for Central Family Court said in her letter:
“I write to you about how CFC will operate during the current lockdown.
“We aim to proceed with our listed cases. We hope to be able to conduct as many cases as possible remotely. Where this is not possible in any particular case, we hope to conduct as much of the case as possible remotely, and for parts of the case to be conducted by attendance or in a hybrid way.
HMCTS are confident that CFC is a safe place for you to visit and work, provided that everyone adheres to the guidance, both national guidance and that which relates to our specific building. However, it also makes sense to bear in mind the need to reduce the number of people having to travel to CFC on public transport and generally to keep numbers attending the building to a minimum.
“Please can everyone look at all cases listed before judges, magistrates and legal advisers which are due to be heard soon, and if they are not currently listed to be fully remote, can you discuss amongst yourselves whether this can be changed. There should be a good reason for attendance at court, related to the interests of justice.
Please submit a Covid case plan as soon as you can to List Office and to the Judge’s clerk, if you know who your judge is ([email protected] ). Particular attention should be given to how interpreters and intermediaries can do their work; to enabling parties to participate fully which may mean providing them with the necessary IT or access to local offices; and to how people can be supported at the conclusion of their case.
“For those of you and your clients who do attend CFC, please wear your mask at all times, including in court, save for when you are addressing the court, or giving evidence.