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 focus will be on hearing simpler cases, where is limited need for extensive evidence or testimony, such as uncontested divorces and divorces which have already reached the penultimate decree nisi stage but which still lack a final settlement. Some straightforward adoption applications will also be heard.
At the end of this month, Sir Declan explained, courts in the Province will begin hearing contested cases once more, as well as some which require the input of witnesses and experts to reach a ruling.
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