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The use of remote hearings in the family justice system: rapid consultation

The coronavirus outbreak and associated social distancing measures present immediate challenges to the family justice system and the Family Courts’ ways of working.

In response to these pressing challenges, Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, has identified a need for evidence to inform guidance on the use of remote hearings.

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory will oversee a two week rapid consultation on the use of remote hearings in the family justice system.

Nuffield FJO is seeking to gather evidence from families with children and all professionals working in the family justice system, including judges, barristers, solicitors, Cafcass workers, court staff, social workers, magistrates and family magistrates.

As well as collating individual responses, we will convene several meetings and events to discuss the issues over the next two weeks and draw together findings from existing research of relevance.

The consultation will run from Tuesday 14 April until Tuesday 28 April 2020. The summary of responses will be shared with the President with a view to new guidance being issued in early May.

Please note that this consultation has now closed.

Should you have any other queries or questions please get in touch with the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory at

Please subscribe to our bulletin to be kept updated about meetings and events arising from this consultation.