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A family law Solicitor from Manchester has hailed the first remote Family Court Hearing as a success. The contested Hearing, in the family law court, was conducted by popular online video service Skype, which has previously been used for remote video evidence but not for all parties at once in a Trial. MG Legal, your Family Solicitor in Lancaster, are interested in this development and it appears that there will be support for this type of Hearing even after the Coronavirus lockdown ends. 

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Who was involved? 

In true, diverse Family Court style the Hearing involved the two parties who were a separated couple with children. The mother elected to instruct a Family Law Solicitor and a Barrister with the father electing to represent himself. MG Legal, your Family Solicitor in Lancaster, always recommends that you instruct a Solicitor as you only get one opportunity to obtain a decision from the Court and so, to go into a Hearing without representation is to go in unarmed, especially if your opponent has instructed a Solicitor. 

How did it work? 

Prior to the Hearing, the mother’s legal representatives ensured all parties possessed the necessary technology to join a remote Skype Hearing and copies of a document bundle were sent to each party including the Court. The Court decided that, rather then adjourn the Hearing due to the Coronavirus lockdown, it would be beneficial for the Hearing to take place and decided that the proposed video method was the best way to do so. 
The two-day family law Hearing was fully video and audio linked with all five participants on screen; the Judge, the mother, the father, the mother’s solicitor and the mother’s barrister. All parties wore proper Court attire including the Judge who ensured that he was properly dressed and could be seen to be in a Court, with the Court symbol in the background. 
Issues with multiple speaks were swiftly addressed, as Skype usually only allows one speaker at any time, with parties wishing to interject using the “raise hand” button, at which point the Judge would halt the proceedings and allow them to speak. 

Why would this type of Hearing work better in the future? 

Any remote Hearing immediately has two benefits; it removes the need for all participants to travel to the Court and waiting times in Court which will reduce legal fees and free up Solicitors to work on other matters – in other words two clients will likely benefit from one Hearing being held via Skype. The second is that it removes the need for participants in particularly contentious, fraught, family proceedings from having to attend in the same place. It is highly likely that giving evidence from their own home, or their own Solicitor’s office will make vulnerable parties more comfortable and less likely to feel intimidated. As a result, their evidence will probably be fuller and more detailed, allowing the Court to make a more reasoned Judgement than having to read into and make educated guesses about evidence being withheld. 

Will MG Legal be using this technology? 

MG Legal, your Family Solicitor in Lancaster, already used this technology to communicate with certain clients and the fact that we already have this facility in place has meant our service can continue uninterrupted during the Coronavirus lockdown. Our Wills & Probate Department, which deals with a high proportion of vulnerable people in this scenario, has been conducting Skype consultations as a matter of course and so we are absolutely ready to use this technology now and in the future. 

Can I instruct MG Legal for my case? 

Definitely, whilst we are adhering to the Government rules on working from home and social distancing, we are still offering a full service in every department. 
MG Legal have specialist departments dealing with Family & Children matters, Personal Injury, Property and Wills, Powers of Attorney and Probate. We have taken extra measures to ensure we are still fully accessible and we can still get your case, whatever you require, up and running straight away. 
We aim to accept all Personal Injury cases on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) and most other instructions are offered on a Fixed-Fee basis to ensure you have the access to our services when you need it most. 
Contact MG Legal by phone, email, web-contact form or at one of our offices in Lancaster, Garstang or Longridge. We will put you in touch with the right member of the team and get the ball rolling without delay. 
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors 
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