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Tricia Ashton

Report into remote hearings during lockdown published

By | Law news | No Comments

A ‘rapid consultation’ into the effectiveness of remote hearings in the family courts has been published by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. Remote hearings via video conferencing software or telephone became the default after social distancing measures began in March. Over 1,000 respondents submitted their views and experiences over two weeks in April, including legal and social work professionals, parents and carers. Many said they were concerned about the fairness of remote hearings. Amongst the issues cited were maintaining privacy, the absence of facial expressions and body language during audio hearings, and potential disadvantage to people with disabilities or who…

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Family Division President rules out remote hearing in complex family case

By | Children, Law news, the family courts | No Comments

The case against a mother suspected of abusing her child must be held in person, the President of the Family Division has declared. Re P (A Child: Remote Hearing) [2020] EWFC 32 concerned a mother suspected by her local authority of fabricating or inducing illness in the child, a practice known as ‘Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy’ or more formally, ‘Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another’. She disputes the allegations. The local authority launched proceedings against the mother in April last year, following lengthy previous disputes with other members of the child’s family. The seven year-old was sent to live with a friend…

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Supreme Court Justice Retires

By | News | No Comments

Veteran Supreme Court Judge Lord Wilson of Culworth has retired after reaching his 75th birthday. Lord Nicholas Wilson had served on the Supreme Court for nine years, after a distinguished 40-year legal career as a barrister and judge, including more than a decade sitting in the Family Division of the High Court. Due to the current pandemic restrictions, his fellow Justices were unable to stage the usual farewell ceremony. Instead Court President Lord Reed recorded a special video paying tribute to his colleague on behalf of Deputy President Lord Hodge and the ten other Justices of the Supreme Court. Lord…

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Northern Ireland to roll out remote family hearings

By | the family courts | No Comments

Judges in Northern Ireland will begin hearing uncontentious family cases remotely from next week, the most senior judge in the Province has announced. Remote court hearings are conducted via telephone or video conferencing software. Sir Declan Morgan, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, said the move marked the beginning of a “gradual and incremental” increase in the number of cases being heard in Northern Irish courts since the pandemic restrictions were introduced. He hoped the move would help clear the backlog which has since built up. All hearings would be held in line with “public health guidance”. The initial…

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