The Family Public Law project, which is part of the wider HMCTS Reform Programme, is currently piloting a new digital system which will support efficient and effective inter-agency working so the service can be conducted digitally from start to finish.
HMCTS is currently opening the service up to all professional users nationally, through a phased roll out approach through to June 2020. As a part of this approach, HMCTS wants to ensure it is engaging directly with solicitors, local authorities and independent bodies. The project falls within the wider HMCTS reform programme.
HMCTS has created a basecamp area (accessible once involved in the pilot) to provide a space which allows a ‘critical friend’ function, where feedback can be freely given to ensure this new service is useable for those who will be intending to use it.
As this service has been created with users in mind, alongside providing support as you navigate the new system, HMCTS hopes to get your feedback on the service, and test ideas for additional services and approaches.
If you are interested in participating in this, or know of fellow solicitors/colleagues who would be interested, please contact Rachael.Bird1@justice.gov.uk
In other news, HMCTS has announced that family hearings at the Court of Appeal will now be live-streamed.
Family hearings at the Court of Appeal will be live-streamed under a joint initiative by the judiciary and government to boost transparency in the justice system.
A statutory instrument laid in Parliament on the 12th March 2020 will pave the way for the project, following the success of a pilot to live-stream civil cases launched in 2018.
Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said:
“Every day family court judges do outstanding work making difficult decisions in highly emotive cases, often involving children.
“By working with the judiciary on innovative pilots such as this we are making the system as transparent as possible, with the right safeguards in place.”
Family cases that reach the Court of Appeal include certain divorce or care proceedings. The move will mean that these cases could be broadcast online to increase public understanding – with the first hearing expected later this year.
Safeguarding measures will be in place including a delay to the live-stream, giving judges the ability to halt the broadcasting immediately if necessary.
For more information on the live streaming announcement, please click here.