Covid 19 has affected the way we work in a number of ways.
Our offices are now a lot quieter than before as the majority of our staff are working remotely from home. It is therefore best if you contact us initially by telephone or email rather than visiting the office.
If you do have an office appointment you will notice hand sanitizers at the entrance to the building and on each floor. When you meet with us it will be in our socially distant interview room where you will be 2 metres away from our staff member. Please do not take offence when we don’t go anywhere near you. This is how we have to work nowadays.
Most of the meetings with the local authority that used to take place in meeting rooms such as ‘pre proceedings meetings’, ‘child protection conferences’ and ‘child in care review meetings’ are now set up remotely. Both you and your solicitor will be asked to access the meeting remotely through Microsoft Teams or a similar platform. If you have difficulty with the technology and the software you are certainly not alone. We will do our best to ensure that you are connected and that your voice is heard.
If your child is made the subject of care proceedings you will find that most initial hearings will now take place remotely over the telephone or video platform when previously you would have attended the Court with your solicitor. We will do our best to ensure that you are fully connected to the hearing and that your case is not adversely affected by factors outside of your control.
There are some hearings such as removal hearings or contested final hearings that would not be appropriate to be conducted remotely. We are also aware that the need for socially distancing means that most Court rooms are not big enough to accommodate all parties. In these cases, it may be possible to set up a hybrid hearing. A hybrid hearing would typically involve the parents and their representatives attending the court room where the Judge is sitting. All other participants such as social worker, children’s guardian their representatives and any experts giving evidence would do so remotely via a video platform which would be connected to the court room.
The impact of Covid-19 upon our day to day work will no doubt continue to evolve as restrictions are eased and then potentially tightened from time to time. We will do our best to keep you updated as to those changes that are most likely to affect you and your case.