12 August 2020
Family and Domestic Proceedings Courts Recovery Guidance
on the extension of FPC and DPC business has issued from the OLCJ with effect
from 10th August 2020. This extension will see more ‘normal’
business being re-established, although generally does not include physical
attendance at court – unless specifically required to do so. The majority
of business will be conducted remotely.
attached Guidance is available on the Judiciary.NI web site at www.judiciaryni.uk – see Matrimonial &
Family – All Tiers section.
are reminded to regularly check the Judiciary.NI web page for updates on
guidance and the latest version of forms for submission to court offices.
FROM THE OLCJ:
Judiciary NI website has been updated to include the attached guidance (copy guidance attached to this email) for recommencement of Family Proceedings and
Domestic Courts from 10 August 2020. Please note -
will continue to be heard remotely unless the judge determines it is necessary
to hold a hearing with all or some of the parties present in court;
a hearing is to take place, practitioners should submit Form HR1 (https://judiciaryni.uk/sites/judiciary/files/media-files/Form%20HR1%20-%20Hearing%20Request%20-%20310720%20-%20FINAL.doc) setting out who will be attending physically and
remotely to allow court staff to ensure that social distancing in the court and
the court building can be maintained. A time slot will be allocated for
reviews and directions hearings on Sightlink will generally be structured to
reduce the waiting time for practitioners, social workers, GALS and CCOs;
will be locked when dealing with individual cases;
listed for a specific hearing slot, practitioners should not have their clients
with them on Sightlink and if they need to take instructions this should either
be done with the client in another room away from the Sightlink or by phone.
This will enable the judge to deal exclusively with members of the profession
when conducting callovers, reviews and directions hearings. This is to ensure
parties in one case do not hear information relating to another case. As
members of the professions and officers of the court there is a responsibility
to maintain the confidentiality of family proceedings and the policing of this
matter does fall to the legal representatives.
a solicitor/counsel considers their case can only be discussed with the client
present they should advise the judge who may then pass a case so that it can be
dealt with separately with the Sightlink closed.