During the lockdown, we have adapted to the new workings of remote hearings, held on Skype and via telephone conference calls so that we can continue to provide access to justice for all the vulnerable parties to care proceedings, in particular parents and family members who are facing applications for the removal of children from their care.
The courts generally holds the remote hearings at the beginning of a case to consider whether children can remain with parents while assessments take place, and then again at the end of a case to consider whether children should be permanently removed from their families.
We, the other representatives and the judge endeavour to make sure that parents can engage in Skype or telephone hearings. It is acknowledged that hearings held in this way may add to the trauma of the situation and make parents feel that they have an unfair disadvantage, but where the court has to deal with the urgent welfare needs of a child, putting off a hearing isn’t always an option.
We aim to ensure that our clients have the means to access hearings and that as far as possible that they are dealt with in a fair way.
Various ways to determine fairness in hearings are being tried. Our solicitors are involved in wholly-remote or partially-attended hearings, or are otherwise arguing for them to take place in court at a later date if that is best for our client.
How we can help
If you have any concerns about engaging with your proceedings, or how a remote hearing might take place, please speak with us on our dedicated Care Proceedings and Children Services helpline 0161 694 4149 or email our team at email@example.com and we will do everything we can to ensure fair access to justice.