Life as we all know it has changed incontrovertibly overnight as a result of COVID-19 and the global spread of the virus. Social distancing, the reality of self-isolation and a huge increase in our reliance on technology and a virtual lifestyle is here to stay for an indefinite period. There are of course many knock on implications of this new way of living, our daily lives have had to change and we are all adapting.
For those who are midway through legal proceedings there are of course many questions, not least of which is how your case can be resolved in a ‘virtual world’. The family court system has recognized quickly that its processes need to adapt with robust technology and the ability to conduct hearings virtually. And the judiciary has stated that the advances in communications and information technology allow us the opportunity to continue to provide services effectively, and that it should be possible to continue substantially the full operation of the family justice system, albeit on a remote access basis.
There may be some ‘teething’ problems but in general the legal sector and the court system have moved as quickly as possible under enormously difficult circumstances to ensure cases can be resolved without undue delay. Court hearings are able to take place via video link and virtual meeting technology and solicitors and barristers are actively encouraging any means that will enable these hearings to proceed and avoid adjournment or being vacated.
There are also other means to resolve a case and potentially avoid the requirement for a court hearing altogether – private FDRs (Financial Dispute Resolution hearing) and arbitration which can have significant benefits for clients and in these uncertain times can help ease the burden on the court system. The benefits of embracing a private FDR or arbitration can be both financial and timely – the parties involved choose their own fully committed judge, or qualified Arbitrator, who will know the facts of the case to help reach a fair outcome. This type of hearing can be set to accommodate all parties’ availability and can be made available more quickly than waiting for the court to list a hearing, and of course can be easily handled via modern technology and virtual meetings which most solicitors and barristers are already very familiar using.
At Raydens we have always been committed to best possible client care and ensuring our clients feel comfortable that their case is smoothly progressing. The current environment is extraordinary for everybody but it does not prevent us delivering the best outcome for our clients in their legal matter.
If you are concerned about your upcoming hearing or would like to understand in more detail how the arbitration process or private FDR’s can be achieved, please contact us.