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We are facing an unprecedented situation which the Lord Chief Justice has described as the biggest public health emergency in a century. It goes without saying that this is a very concerning and unsettling time for not just this country but the whole world.
The coronavirus is impacting the whole of society and the prime minister announced new measures on Monday night which are necessary in the fight against this pandemic. These can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
What does all this mean for the Family Justice System? The Lord Chief Justice has stated in a message to judges in the Civil and Family Courts that there is an obligation to continue with the work of the courts as a vital public service. However, in line with the government’s guidance on slowing the spread of infection, changes have been necessary in the way the Family Justice System is operated.
Wherever possible, arrangements are being put in place to use technology so that hearings can be heard remotely. This includes holding hearings via telephone or via Skype. The advice is also that physical hearings should only take place where absolutely unavoidable, for instance, where the requirements of fairness and justice require a Court based hearing and it is safe to do so. Even in situations where a Court based hearing is required, it will still be necessary to maintain measures such as social distancing.
In line with the governments advice, here at Chapman Pieri we have taken steps to protect both staff and clients as far as possible.
Accordingly, our physical office is temporarily closed until further notice. We have a telephonist in place to take urgent calls between the hours of 10am – 4pm, Monday – Friday.
We shall be working remotely and will have some access to our emails which is currently the best form of communication. Please also note the following:
⦁ Please correspond with us electronically by emailing your solicitor directly as usual.
⦁ All meetings to take place by telephone.
⦁ If you need to deliver hard-copy documents, please post through our office letter box.
In the event that you have an upcoming court hearing or conference, your solicitor will be in touch in due course to explain the procedure.