How will Covid-19 affect my family legal dispute?

 

The Lord Chief Justice made a statement on Monday as the government are appealing to cancel all non-essential travel. The question is – does this travel include your court hearings or is this essential travel? Lord Burnett of Maldon said it was ‘not realistic’ to continue as normal when following the government guidelines. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time until hearings will be taking place via video technology where possible. Emergency legislation is to be drafted and announced shortly and I will endeavour to keep you updated.

It is a worrying time for all when faced with the unknown. In children matters, some of our clients have waited a long time for their hearing and we will do everything that we can for these to proceed whilst ensuring the safety of our clients and members of staff.

As a firm we are still open, albeit working from home. We are no longer offering face to face appointments. This decision was made with regard to the safety of our clients and our members of staff. Over the last year the amount of face to face appointments we conduct has reduced as more and more people prefer to pick up the phone or video call in any event. We have set up ‘Zoom’, a web-based video conferencing tool, which can be used on a desktop or mobile device. We are doing everything possible to ensure that our clients continue to have the same quality of service.

If you are having any difficulties with spending time with your children over this difficult period – we can help!

  • Some people will use this epidemic as a reason to go off kilter with a court order. Does the isolation phase, or potential lockdown, mean that the other parent doesn’t abide by the order and collect the child or children? I think it is important in this instance to communicate with your ex-partner and ascertain if they have genuine symptoms and assess on the individual merits depending on your own circumstances. For example, you may have a new baby in the house or elderly relatives to care for.
  • As mediators, we can still continue to conduct mediation sessions via video calls either through a three-way video conference or I can go back and forth between both parents to try reach some common ground.
  • As solicitors, we can still email the other party and send correspondence to try deal with the issue either directly or through their legal advisor if they are represented.
  • We offer an initial free consultation and we have a number of members of staff on hand to deal with your enquiry and discuss the benefits of mediation and/or acting for you in a solicitor capacity.

If you are in the process of negotiating financial matters in divorce proceedings:

  • We can still continue to act on your behalf by working remotely. As a business we took the initiative last year to go paper light and we have access to all your paperwork. We also have a fantastic case management system, so the fact that we are not physically in the office, will not hinder the quality of our work.
  • If you have any upcoming hearings they may still go ahead or it may be that they take place via video conference. We will make enquiries with the Court on your behalf and keep you updated at all times. It is only in the event of a full lock down that hearings may not be able to go ahead.
  • All appointments can continue as normal either via telephone or through video call facilities.
  • Some people are concerned about their business investments reducing considerably due to the economic climate. If this is something you are worried about, we have excellent connections with local financial advisors who we can put you in touch with.
  • Most solicitors should be able to work from home if there is a full lock down like in other countries.

Please be rest assured that everyone at Consilia Legal is doing everything that they can and it is business as usual for us albeit some minor tweaks.

If you would like to speak to one of our specialist family solicitors in Leeds or Harrogate, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 322 9222 or enquiries@consilialegal.co.uk.

Please note that all information is subject to change depending on new guidance

 

 

 

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