New consultation on remote hearings – 10th Sep 2020

We will be taking part in this consultation because most of the mums we’re working with are finding remote hearings are making all the problems we face in the family courts even worse! It’s outrageous that children are being separated from mums after hearings over the phone or on video link, where you can’t even speak to your lawyer or advocate during the proceedings. And we know that face to face contact has in many cases been stopped for months now, making it so much harder to keep in touch with children in foster care. There’s a lot to say and Nuffield need to hear it – their last report focused on the experiences of lawyers, judges and other professionals and now it’s time for us to have our say! Watch this space for our next step.

Below is a summary of the questions:

  1. Role – parent/organisation
  2. If parent who – mother/father
  3. Which Court
  4. Were you represented?
  5. How did you take part – phone etc
  6. Did you get help?
  7. By whom did you get help?
  8. Was a decision made on whether your child lives with you?
  9. Was your baby/child removed?
  10. If remote hearing – were you allowed to see the child/baby face to face?
  11. How do you feel your case was dealt with?
  12. Did you understand what was happening?
  13. Did you have any concerns or worries by the way your case was handled?
  14. If you had concerns what would have made it better?
  15. If you wish to be contacted please provide email address
  16. Would you like to share any documents with us – please download here
  17. Ethnicity
  18. Did anything effect your case – age/disability//sex/race/religion
  19. If something above effected your case what is needed to improve your experience?
  20. How did the effect above effect you experience of the hearing?

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (Nuffield FJO) is continuing its work to support a system-wide understanding of how family justice practice has been shaped by COVID-19 – how approaches have changed, where this has resulted in positive practice innovation and what challenges and difficulties have emerged.

In March/April we carried out a rapid consultation on remote hearings in the family court and received feedback from over 1000 parents, carers and professionals. The subsequent report included many insights and suggestions for good practice which was welcomed by the President of the Family Division and was widely seen to be helpful and informative.

It is now clear that, while some physical court hearings are taking place, social distancing will continue to apply and many hearings will still take place over video or by phone for many months to come. The system is still adjusting to these changes while facing the challenge of the backlog of cases. As a result, we are carrying out a second, follow-up survey of how the system is working.

The new online survey is live from today, 10th September, and will remain open for three weeks until 30th September.
Access the survey here

There is plenty of space within the survey for you to record details, comments and reflections. At the end of the survey there is an option to upload Word or PDF documents if you would like to. If you are unable to access Survey Monkey, you can submit your views via email to contactfjo@nuffieldfoundation.org