COVID-19 outbreak and family cases

It has been confirmed that family cases will continue despite the COVID-19 outbreak

Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice, has released new guidance on COVID-19. This guidance is aimed at everyone involved with the Family Courts and is of particular importance to anyone who has a case coming up over the next few weeks and months.

Continuing access to justice is vitally important but it needs to be done in the safest way possible. This new guidance is to be “followed with immediate effect by all levels of the Family Court and in the High Court Family Division” and is intended to “keep business going safely”.

The guidance says:

There is a strong public interest in the Family Justice System continuing to function as normally as possible despite the present pandemic. At the same time, in accordance with government guidance, there is a need for all reasonable and sensible precautions to be taken to prevent infection and, in particular, to avoid non-essential personal contact.”

Therefor over the next coming months it is likely that if hearings can take place virtually or by telephone conference they will do so in order to minimise physical contact.  You can read the new guidance and rules here.

CAFCASS have also published on their website their working practices going forward during the COVID-19 outbreak and this will be of particular importance to anyone who has a case coming up relating to their children. CAFCASS guidance can be found here.

The family department at Barker Gotelee are committed to working for our clients in the best and safest way possible. We shall continue to progress all matters to the best of our ability and are doing a mixture of working from home and in the office. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact one of the team.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.

Suffolk Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email