Whilst the family courts are doing their upmost to try and avoid delay in hearing cases by hearing them remotely, Sir Andrew McFarlane recently adjourned matters in the case of RE P (A Child: Remote Hearing) due to them being ‘unsuitable’ to be heard remotely.
In this particular case, this was on the basis that, the judge must be able to experience the behaviour of the parent who is the focus of the allegations,
‘not only when they are in the witness box being examined in-chief and cross-examined, but equally when they are sitting in the well of the court and reacting, as they may or may not do, to the factual and expert evidence as it unfolds’.
Sir Andrew McFarlane went on to say that guidance issued by Mr Justice MacDonald shortly after lockdown had been misunderstood and,
‘it does not offer guidance, let alone give direction, on the wholly different issue of whether any particular hearing should or should not, be conducted remotely. Establishing that a hearing can be conducted remotely, does not in any way mean that the hearing must be conducted in that way’.
Mediation can be conducted remotely. Although like with Court hearings, not every case is suitable for online mediation. It is for the mediator to determine if your case can be dealt with online via a visual meeting.
Due to the ongoing corona virus pandemic we are currently only offering our online services. Previously, clients access this service for many reasons including where their mobility may cause issues; if you live in different locations which means geographically it would be difficult for one of you to travel; if your work/ lifestyle/commitments means this way is more convenient, to meet those needs; or where there has been domestic abuse.
Online mediation can be just as effective as face to face, and, can in fact be more constructive in some situations.