Published 21 March 2020. Updated 29 June 2020

There’s been a flurry of guidance in response to the pandemic. We’ve gathered some useful links (with key definitions) to help families, advice workers and professionals find and use practical information more easily.

More guidance is being issued by the day if not the hour. We aim to update, where possible, but updates are being issued all the time.

THE MAIN ORIENTATION PAGES

The judicial office orientation page is here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and guidance.

The key HMCTS orientation pages being regularly updated are their daily operational bulletins, and the Courts and Tribunals Planning and Preparation page.

See also the main gov.uk orientation page: Coronavirus: What you need to do.

The 14 April 2020 FLBA orientation page, Covid 19 Update, is the one site we’ve seen with links to the various local family judicial guidance in one place

REMOTE (AND COURT BASED) HEARINGS

Worldwide

Remote Courts Worldwide

Courts generally (England and Wales)

Court safety

HMCTS Organisational Covid – 19 Risk Assessment, HMCTS, 15 May 2020. And HMCTS COVID -19 Risk Assessment Tool, May 2020. See also Assessing and Managing Risk section of HMCTS Courts & Tribunals Planning and Preparation page and Keeping court and tribunal buildings safe, secure and clean. See here for some context at the Transparency Project.

What courts and court buildings are open (30 March 2020 onwards)

Contingency planning – Courts and Tribunals, 27 March 2020, Lord Chief Justice: 

  • Signposts to a new joint MOJ & HMCTS press release (below) confirming that (certain) essential courts will remain open (from Monday 30th March 2020) for in person hearings since not everything can be dealt with remotely and we need to maintain functioning courts. These temporary adjustments to how we use the court estate will help ensure that we can continue to deal with work appropriately in all jurisdictions whilst safeguarding the well-being of all those who work in and visit the courts

MOJ & HMCTS Press Release, 27 March 2020: 

  • The MOJ/HMCTS announced that as of Monday 30 March 2020, courts will be divided into those suspended; those not open for hearings but staffed to enable remote hearings etc; and those that are open for essential hearings that can’t be heard remotely, in order to ensure the justice system continues to operate effectively. Urgent or essential hearings that must be held in person, as decided by a judge, can be heard in these priority buildings
  • The press release links to a list of what courts fall into what category (the tracker)
  • It also references and links to the Lord Chief Justice’s 19 March 2020 civil and family courts guidance (below) that continues to make clear that the default position is remote hearings wherever possible. 

The Remote Access Family Court Version 5, Mr Justice MacDonald, 26 June 2020  – Adds there is now a rolling programme of moving all courts to ‘open’ status though social distancing will continue to prevent even open courts reaching full capacity. 

Remote hearings

Online court and tribunal services for professional users and the public, HMCTS, 9 April 2020 with family specific links here

HMCTS Telephone and video hearings during the coronavirus outbreak, HMCTS, 18 March 2020, updated 1 May 2020: 

  • The guidance issued ahead of the change in arrangements from Monday 30th March 2020 including on how the decision as to whether to use telephone or video hearings should be taken; 
    • platforms of choice; 
    • key information for court users such as how to join a remote hearing (and a link to a new more detailed HMCTS Guide on Joining Court Hearings by Video Call or Phone); what to do if you can’t use access remotely for any reason; what to expect from the court by way of being in touch; a link to search for the appropriate court
    • the new Coronavirus Act court measures in summary; 
    • open justice and media access arrangements 

HMCTS Guide on Joining Court Hearings by Video Call or Phone, HMCTS, 27 March, updated 1 May 2020

How to join telephone and video hearings during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, HMCTS, 8 April, updated 12 May 2020:

Find the right court or tribunal, HMCTS, 27 March 2020

Review of court arrangements due to COVID-19, message from the Lord Chief Justice, 23 March 2020:

  • Short updating guidance saying that since the spread of COVID-19 has continued to accelerate, and the clear message from Government is to take all precautions to avoid unnecessary contact, hearings in the civil and family courts requiring the physical presence of parties and their representatives and others should only take place IF a remote hearing is not possible AND suitable arrangements can be made to ensure safety

PRACTICE DIRECTION 51Y – VIDEO OR AUDIO HEARINGS DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, 25 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): courts and tribunals planning and preparation – advice and guidance for all court and tribunal users during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, updated 22 May 2020

Civil (including family) courts

See also Family specific below

CIVIL JUSTICE IN ENGLAND and WALES PROTOCOL REGARDING REMOTE HEARINGS, 22 March 2020: The Master of the Rolls; The President of the Queen’s Bench Division; The Chancellor of the High Court; The Senior Presiding Judge: 

  • General civil guidance on how to conduct remote hearings for all types of hearings in all civil courts including family. 

Coronavirus (COVID–19): Message from the Lord Chief Justice to judges in the Civil and Family Courts, 19 March 2020: 

  • The original general guidance from the LCJ that said that as of 19 March 2020the default position for all the civil courts (including the family courts and the Court of Protection) was remote hearings where possible, with sensible precautions if attending a court based hearing

The Family Court specifically

(See also Open Justice below)

Remote Hearings

The Remote Access Family Court, Version 5, Mr Justice MacDonald, 26 June 2020.

  • An operational manual for the family court. V5 helpfully replaces previous versions and flags what is new in red, while striking through what has been removed, so earlier versions need not be cross-referenced. With index, pagination and links to the main guidance still in operation. New additions V5 include:
  • Confiration that there is now a rolling programme of moving all courts to ‘open’ status though social distancing will continue to prevent even open courts reaching full capacity. 
  • Updates on thinking about the right hearing / adjournments in the near future, including The Road Ahead from the President, and a summary of the key applicable factors from ‘guidance’ to date, in one place, extracted from para 45 of Lancashire County Council v M (COVID-19 Adjournment Application) [2020] EWFC 43
  • New national guidance on fully attended physical hearings and hybrid hearings alongside existing guidance for remote hearings at Appendix 1 with suggestions for managing various operational complexities including relating to the IT. 
  • Safety expectations and links to key existing guidance about that at para 3.3.2
  • Open Justice – Media requests to attend should have MEDIA REQUEST / CASE NAME / DATE OF HEARING in email header; a national contact number: 02038686525 M-T 9-5 and Friday 9-4pm to assist where local attempts by email and phone are failing is in place. Lists should go up early in draft form if need be and generic inboxes should be searched regularly so requests from accredited journalists are swiftly and sympathetically put before judges

Lancashire County Council v M & Ors (COVID-19 Adjournment Application) (Rev 1) [2020] EWFC 43 (12 June 2020):

  • Decision of MacDonald J applying The Road Ahead framework thinking and summarising all the ‘guidance’ to date, and factors to consider in one place at para 45 with 9 headings and 12 sub headings. (As discussed in Remote hearings, hybrid hearings, adjourned hearings from the Transparency Project).

The Family Court and COVID-19: The Road Ahead, The President, 9 June 2020:

  • A framework for decisions on remote hearings / adjournments for the next 6 months in the family courts, in light of what we know currently about restrictions in response to the pandemic. 

The Remote Access Family Court – What Have We Learnt So Far in England and Wales? Speech by Mr Justice MacDonald, 21 May 2020  

Remote hearings in the Family Justice SystemA rapid consultation, Nuffield FJO, 6 May 2020

  • Findings from the NFJO two-week rapid consultation on remote hearings in the family court

A View from The President’s [Remote] Chambers, 6 May 2020 –

  • President’s statement suggesting formal guidance on whether and when to use remote hearings in family cases was unlikely, (published alongside the consultation report below)

Message for Circuit and District Judges sitting in Civil and Family from the Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls and President of the Family Division, 9 April 2020: 

  • Observations to help judges think through individual decisions on whether and how to use remote hearings in family cases, particularly those involving witness evidence

Financial Remedies Courts Letter of Mr Justice Mostyn and HHJ Hess, 15 April 2020:

  • Dis-applies the above ‘message’ & President’s clarification in relation to financial remedy hearings (especially where no live is testimony involved) 

President’s clarification message, published by the FLBA, 15 April 2020

The impact of COVID-19 measures on the civil justice system, Civil Justice Council, May 2020

Remote Court Hearings Guidance Note, The Transparency Project, 7 June 2020

  • A guidance note for family members and others involved in remote family court hearings including litigants in person 

Parent’s Guide to Remote Hearings, Sussex Family Justice Board, 29 May 2020: 

  • Guide for parents attending remote court hearings in the Sussex area or involving Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council or West Sussex County Council 

Desperately seeking guidance…,The Transparency Project, 13 April 2020:

  • Comment at the Transparency Project

Attending the Court of Appeal (Remotely); The latest remote hearing decision; The Magic Soup Stone Strikes Again; Alphabet Soup;

  • Previous Transparency Project blogs linking to and explaining remote hearing related family court judgments

How are remote family court hearings working for families? Survey, The Transparency Project, 7 April:

  • The blog that launched the Transparency Project survey on 7 April, for parents and family members who have been involved in a remote hearing since covid-19 broke out. We continue to invite responses so we can find out what is working and what is not & feed into the review

Other

Guidance For Family & County Court Judges – Covid-19 MeasuresJudiciary, 23 March 2020 (See downloadable word document from ‘cross jurisdictional guidance’ section here:

  • Practical social distancing measures for family courts remaining open

Coronavirus update- Summary of Family business priorities previously agreed with the President of the Family Division, HMCTS, 7 April 2020: 

  • Explains how court staff are prioritising family court and court of protection work during the pandemic

General Guidance on PDF bundles, the President and others, 26 May 2020

Covid 19: National Guidance for the Family Court: Message from President of the Family Division, 19 March 2020

  • Includes template directions order for remote hearing at Annex A.
  • Sets out Mostyn J’s Guidance on arrangements for the Financial Remedies Court, 17 March 2010, as Annex B. 

Family courts: making C100 applications – w/c 8 June 2020

Family courts: making C100 applications, HMCTS 3 April 2020:

  • Guidance on how to make child arrangments order applications during tbe pandemic

Applications to adjourn civil and family hearings because of coronavirus (COVID-19), HMCTS, 20 March 2020:

  • In certain situations fees may be set aside (waived) for applications to adjourn civil and family hearings.

Message from the President of the Family Division: how to submit an appeal during the COVID-19 crisis, the President, 31March 2020

Royal Courts of Justice Court of Appeal urgent business priorities, 20 April 2020, HMCTS

Coronavirus Crisis: Guidance on Compliance with Family Court Child Arrangement Orders, 24 March 2020, the President

COVID-19: Temporary Amendments to the Practice Guidance on Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings, The President, 26 March 2020

President’s Guidance on Decrees during the Coronavirus Pandemic, The President, 8 April 2020:

  • Arrangements for decrees nisi, decrees of judicial separation, conditional orders &separation orders to be heard in private 

Guidance as to the replacement of affidavits with statements of truth in non-contentious probate processes, President of the Family Division, 20 April 2020:  

  • Enables statements of truth in place of affidavits in non-contentious probate processes as many solicitors cannot access their offices or papers

Working with the Family Courts during the COVID-19 pandemic: Policy position for stage 1 recovery: 1st June – 1st September 2020, Cafcass, 1 June 2020

Guidance for Clinical Psychologists Who Act as Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts During Covid-19, May 2020, Dr Jaime Craig, Dr Helen Rodwell and Dr Miriam Silver for ACP-UK

  • Including on remote and face to face assessments 

Guidance for intermediaries during the Covid-19 pandemic, MOJ, undated 

Communicourt Update – Covid-19, Communicourt, Updated 27th April 2020

Responding to a global pandemic within the family courtsand Using remote hearings to maintain justice during the coronavirus pandemic, Inside HMCTS blog site, 4 May & 30 April 2020:

  • HMCTS blog updating on their plans for remote hearings in the family courts. With a facility to allow comments at the foot. 

Local judicial guidance

Covid 19 Update, FLBA, 14 April

  • Useful electronic links in one place for the various local judicial guidance being produced (alongside links to current national family court guidance & FLBA guidance)

The Court of Protection 

Hayden J’s updating letter, Judiciary, 4 May 2020:

  • Update on the CoP’s response to the pandemic including the work of the Hive group and open justice measures
  • Includes a reminder that Applicants should consider alerting the press, especially in serious medical treatment cases, in accordance with the 31 March 2020 guidance, 

Guidance on remote access to the Court of Protection, Hayden J, Vice President of the CoP, 31 March 2020

  • Detailed guidance including a protocol and specimen order for remote hearings (which remain the default to further notice).

Further Guidance for Judges and Practitioners in the Court of Protection arising from Covid-19, Hayden J, 24 March 2020

Additional Guidance for Judges and Practitioners arising from Covid-19, Hayden J, 18 March 2020

Visits to P by Judges and Legal Advisors, Hayden J, 13 March 2020

COURT OF PROTECTION BAR ASSOCIATION Guidance on Effective Remote Hearings, Bar Association, 8 April 2020:

More on the technology

TELEPHONE APPLICATIONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE, 19 March, Civil Litigation Brief: . This is a detailed practical and procedural guide to telephone hearings with links to court forms, and with family lawyers in mind.

Open Justice & access to remote hearings in the family courts for reporters (accredited journalists and legal bloggers), and the public in the CoP

PA Media Group v London Borough of Haringey & Ors [2020] EWHC 1282 (Fam) (20 May 2020) 

  • Hayden J says: This case provides a timely reminder to the profession of the need to adhere to the guidance for remote hearings promulgated by MacDonald J, in particular, the mechanism by which the press should be notified of remote hearings.
  • The guidance (or operating manual) referred to is Version 4 The Remote Family Court by McDonald J (See Para 5. 16 onwards, Transparency section). 
  • Journalists persuade judge to change his mind and name criticised local authority Lucy Reed, 20 May 2020 – explains further including that whilst this was not strictly an application for a reporting restriction order – but a request regarding the extent of anonymisation in an already prepared judgment, it was obviously one which was likely to be contentious once the press became aware.

Haydn J’s updating letter, Judiciary, 4 May 2020 reminding Applicants to consider alerting the press, especially in serious medical treatment cases, in accordance with his 31 March 2020 Guidance below. 

Guidance on remote access to the Court of Protection, Hayden J, 31 March 2020:  

  • Paragraphs 54-64 provided detailed guidance on ‘transparency’ issues.

How to observe remote hearings in the court of protection, Celia Kitzinger at the Transparency Project, 7 June 2020:

  • Practical tips on listings and gaining access to court of protection hearings which were normally open to the public before remote working began

Guidance on how HMCTS will use telephone and video technology during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, HMCTS, updated 27 March 2020 – See specific sections on open justice and media access

Covid-19, the UK’s Coronavirus Bill and emergency ‘remote’ court hearings: what does it mean for open justice?, 24 March 2020 – blog post at the Transparency Project site by Judith Townend

CIVIL JUSTICE IN ENGLAND and WALES PROTOCOL REGARDING REMOTE HEARINGS, 22 March 2020: The Master of the Rolls; The President of the Queen’s Bench Division; The Chancellor of the High Court; The Senior Presiding Judge

  • See paras 6-9 and 21 and 22 in particular for how civil courts including family courts should manage open justice principles in light of the pandemic

The Corona Virus Act 2020 (in force from 25th March 2020)

Briefing: Coronavirus Bill, Courts and the Rule of Law, 18 March 2020, Natalie Byrom, The Legal Education Foundation:

  • Implications of the Bill for the rule of law and Access to Justice and proposals for safeguards to open justice.

LEGAL DUTIES TO CHILDREN IN THE CARE SYSTEM

NEW Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 in force 24 April 2020

WITH NEW Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children’s social care services that followed on 6 May 2020, DfE:

SAFEGUARDING

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local authorities on children’s social careDfE, 3 April 2020: 

  • How LA’s should make prioritizing decisions since they are not likely to be able to meet all statutory support and protection duties (eg. visits to children) during the pandemic 
  • Brief guidance about many issues including the importance of contact between children in care and their birth relatives and the need for case by case decisions not blanket policies on it 
  • And brief guidance on personal protective equipment for social workers; families worried about risk from visits; child protection conferences; residential settings; care leavers; unaccompanied children; fostering; adoption & more

See also safeguarding in schools and contact with children in care below.

Information Sharing

Child protection information to be shared with school nurses and health visitors, NHS, 11 April 2020:

  • NHS news item saying plans to extend the Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) system (that alerts NHS staff when ‘looked after’ children, those subject to a child protection plan, or pregnant women who have an unborn child protection plan, present at an unscheduled care setting (such as an A&E or walk in centre). And alerts the child’s social worker when such a visit occurs), are being expedited due to Covid 19. School nurses and health visitors will now also receive details of children in any of those three categories in their school or area. 

EDUCATION

New school arrangements after 1 June 2020

Guidance for secondary school provision from 15 June 2020, DfE, updated 4 June

Planning guide for primary schools, DfE, 4 June 2020

Preparing for the wider opening of schools from 1 June Guidance: Planning guides for school leaders to help them prepare to open their schools for more pupils during the coronavirus outbreakDfE, 14 May, updated 4 June 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings, DfE, updated 1st June.

Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus (COVID-19), DfE, 30 April, updated 29 May 2020: 

  • Guidance on temporary changes to special educational needs and disability legislation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening, DfE, updated 26 May 2020

Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers, DfE, updated 11 May 2020 

  • Includes an increased emphasis on school attendance of vulnerable children in light of low take up to date so long as appropriate for them:
    • Children with a social worker, are now said to be: expected to attend unless their social worker decides that they are at less risk at home or in their placement
    • Children with an education health and care (EHC) plan are now said to be expected to attend if a risk assessment establishes that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment.
    • The ‘road map’ guidance also urges social workers to get children in schools

Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings

Guidance on practical measures and safety with specific cross reference to the Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19, DfE, updated 5 May 2020

IPSEA update on COVID-19, school closures and SEN provision, IPSEA, 12 May 2020

(See also children with disabilities and ECHP’s below)

Safeguarding in education settings

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers, DfE, 27 March 2020: 

  • Child protection arrangements for schools

School meals

School meals and food vouchers during the Coronavirus crisis, Family Rights Group, undated.

Temporary closure and school places for ‘vulnerable’ children / children of key workers

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance on vulnerable children and young people, 22 March 2020: 

The original 19 March guidance below should now be read in light of this updating guidance on who is a ‘vulnerable’* child or young person for an educational place. Essentially:

  • children or young people with an allocated social worker; 
  • looked after children;
  • those up to 25 on EHCP’s subject to a risk assessment of their need for a school place by the educator (in conjunction with parents and the local authority)
  • any other child the local authority considers sufficiently on the edge of social work support so as to warrant one

Government Guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision, 19 March 2020:

  • The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
  • School places are still available for:
    • Children who are vulnerable;*(see above) and
    • Children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home
  • Vulnerable was originally defined here as including:
    •  Children who are supported by social care; and
    • Children with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. [The definition has now been tightened up in new guidance (above) dated 22 March 2020].
  • Cannot be safely cared for at home is not defined and is left to the discretion of those key workers and their schools since it will plainly vary based on the circumstances of households. Various professional bodies have attempted to clarify eg. the Family Law Bar Association  
  • The guidance also asks schools to help other children facing social difficulties. [That isn’t defined either but left to the discretion of the parents and schools. Those eligible for free school meals are provided for under new guidance on free school meals (see below)].
  • Key workers (whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response), who are entitled to school places for their children if they can’t safely care for them are defined to include:
    • Those who work in health and social care, including but not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment. And
    • Other [listed] key sectors including those essential to the running of the justice system 
      • Those essential to the running of the justice system are not defined in any published guidance we’ve seen as yet. But a message from the Lord Chancellor late on Friday 20 March relayed apparent MOJ confirmation that this includes advocates required to appear before a court or tribunal including prosecutors; other professionals required to support the administration of justice including solicitors and paralegals; as well as members of the public acting as jurors and witnesses.

Guidance for school about temporarily closing, updated 3 April, HMCTS

Closure of Educational Settings: Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), 19 March 2020 – Inforrmation including what to do if your school is shut or you don’t feel it’s safe for your child to go in etc.

Free school meals

COVID-19: free school meals guidance: Guidance for schools and local authorities on free school meals arrangements during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, 19 March 2020:

  • Children eligible for free school meals will be offered meals or vouchers as an alternative if they can no longer attend school due to coronavirus measures:

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES / ON EDUCATION HEALTH AND CARE PLANS

NEW Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 in force 24 April 2020. And NEW Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children’s social care services that followed on 6 May 2020, DfE – (See Duties to Children in the Care System above for commentaries on them).

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance on vulnerable children and young people, 22 March 2020

IPSEA update on COVID-19, school closures and SEN provision, IPSEA, 12 May 2020

See also Care in a time of Coronavirus: Using direct payments to pay family members for care, 23 March 2020:   Steve Broach at Special Needs Jungle on ideas fo coping creatively 

And Coronavirus: Information for families with disabled children, Contact: For Families of Disabled Children

  • Includes advice on the virus and on children with health needs, education, welfare benefits and money, the new Coronavirus Act 2020 in force from 25th March, and coping at home

CHILD ARRANGEMENTS ORDERS / SHARED CARE

Family courts: making C100 applications, HMCTS, 3 April 2020:

  • Guidance on how to make child arrangments order applications during tbe pandemic

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others, Cabinet Office, 23 March 2020: 

  • The new ‘stay at home’ guidance of 24 March 2020 and exemption where parents do not live in the same household, and need to move children under 18 between their parents’ homes

Coronavirus Crisis: Guidance on Compliance with Family Court Child Arrangement Orders, 24 March 2020, the President

New Service: Co-parenting through the coronavirus crisis, 17 March 2020, National Family Mediation: 

  • NFM are offering an online video consultation with an expert family mediator to help those struggling to communicate during the coronavirus crisis forge new or changed plans to get through the next few months.

Relate: Talk To Someone service: 

  • Relate are also offering enhanced online services aimed at helping people cope in their relationships through the coronavirus crisis here

Coronavirus and child contact arrangements guidance, Rights of Women

Child arrangements and shared care during the corona outbreak, 24 March 2020, Lucy Reed (Chair of Transparency Project) at Pink Tape: 

  • Explains the new stay at home guidance and exemption. Links to earlier posts with practical ideas for managing contact and shared care arrangements in light of the new measures

Corona Virus and separated parents – what to do? Lucy Reed (Chair of the Transparency Project) at Pink Tape: 

  • Blog post offering ideas and strategies for parents wondering what to do about their contact and ‘live with’ arrangements in light of the virus.

Cafcass COVID-19 guidance for children and families:

  • Includes a link to Co-parenting and child arrangements in a global pandemic – advice for families 

National Association of Child Contact Centre information for the public regarding the coronavirus, updated 17 March 2020:

DOMESTIC ABUSE

Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency arrangements for Family Law Act injunctions

Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency arrangements for Family Law Act injunctions, HMCTS, undated:

  • Guidance to help make sure injunction applications are prioritised and victims of domestic abuse receive protection as soon as possible

The Domestic violence and child abuse: amendments to [legal aid] evidence requirements (Coronavirus (COVID-19) (within the Working with clients Guidance)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and domestic abuse, Home Office, updated 14 April 2020:

  • Government advice for those experiencing or feeling at risk of domestic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

COVID-19: guidance on isolation for domestic abuse safe accommodation provision, 23 March, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: 

  • Guidance for providers of safe accommodation with support for victims of domestic abuse and their children.

Applying for a domestic violence (Family Law Act) injunction for unrepresented applicants, HMCTS, 3 April: 

  • how to apply for a domestic violence injunction as an unrepresented applicant during the coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus – remote hearings in the Family Court, Rights of Women, 14 April 2020, 

  • Guidance on remote hearings for applications for emergency orders for protection from domestic abuse in the family court during coronavirus

Staying safe during COVID-19 -A guide for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, Safe Lives, with other links

Rights of Women Coronavirus and child contact arrangements guidance

Only Mums and Only Dads, Family Panel: 

  • Free 30 minute conversation with a family law solicitor available for concerns about domestic abuse:

ABDUCTION

COVID-19: Temporary Amendments to the Practice Guidance on Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings, The President, 26 March 2020: 

  • Temporary amendments to the operation of the Practice Guidance on Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings

DIVORCE / SEPARATION

Divorce

President’s Guidance on Decrees during the Coronavirus Pandemic, The President, 8 April 2020:

  • Arrangements for decrees nisi, decrees of judicial separation, conditional orders &separation orders to be heard in private 

CONTACT WITH CHILDREN IN CARE

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local authorities on children’s social care, HMCTS 3 April 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care

  • Includes confirmation of the importance of contact between children in care and their birth relatives and the need for case by case decisions

Coronacontact- what about the children in care? Jack Harrison, 12 April 2020 at the Transparency Project website: https://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/coronacontact-what-about-the-children-in-care/

  • Legal duties about contact with children in care and what these amount to during a pandemic

Advice for parents and families with a child in the care system: Ways you can support your child during the Coronavirus outbreak, Family Rights Group, 26 March 2020

Managing family contact during the coronavirus crisis, Nuffield Observatory, undated:

  • The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory are supporting professionals to maintain children’s contact with family members during the crisis including through:
    • bringing together children’s social care, legal professionals, members of the judiciary, digital experts, foster carers, kinship carers, families and others to explore ways to ensure that contact arrangements are safe and practical during this time;
    • sharing innovative examples of how individuals and organisations are responding to this challenge from around the country

7 questions to ask when using digital technology to help maintain family contact, Nuffield FJO, 27 March 2020

KINSHIP CARERS

Top tips for kinship carers to help children to maintain relationships during the coronavirus outbreak, Family Rights Group, 24 March 2020

FOSTER CARERS

Coronavirus (Covid-19) – support for foster carers, Fostering Network 

  • Resources for foster carers

THE ADOPTION SUPPORT FUND

Covid-19 adoption support fund scheme to help vulnerable families, Press release, DfE, 10 April 2020 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-adoption-support-fund-scheme-to-help-vulnerable-families

  • The government announced up to £8 million further funds for various therapeutic support for families whose adopted children may have already suffered trauma and be made more anxious owing to the uncertainty of the effects of the virus. 

Coronavirus Adoption Support Fund Guidance (FAQ’s), Coram

THE SOCIAL WORK ‘WORK-FORCE

Information for social workers, SW England

SAFETY 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 and Guidance: Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t doCabinet Office:

  • Updated Regulations and Guidance upon relaxation of the lockdown restrictions: 

Staying Home Advicehttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

  • This is the government advice on when and how to self-isolate as an individual

Guidance for households with possible infectionhttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

  • This is the government advice on when and how households should self isolate

Guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable peoplehttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people

  • This is the government advice on why and how to socially distance more generally and measures to otherwise protect older people and other vulnerable adults

LEGAL AID CHANGES

The Domestic violence and child abuse: amendments to evidence requirements (Coronavirus (COVID-19) within the Working with clients Guidance)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal Aid Agency contingency response18 March:

  • Advice and guidance for legal aid providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which the LAA say will be updated when new advice is available

OTHER LINKS

Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategyThe Government’s roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis, Cabinet Office, 11 May 2020: 

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do, DfE , updated 11 May 2020

Coronavirus legislation at gov.uk

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020

Responding to Covid-19: The Ethical Framework, 19 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) action plan, Department of Health and Social Care 3 March 2020

Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, DfE updated 30 March 202

Coronavirus Act Amendments to the Care Act now in force & Guidance on published adult social care duties, Kings Chambers, 31 March 2020): 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): residential care, supported living and home care guidance

Hospital Discharge Guidance, 19 March 2020

Social care provider resilience during COVID-19: guidance to commissioners: Shared guidance to local authority commissioners from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA)

Routine inspections suspended in response to coronavirus outbreak, Ofsted, 16 March 2020: https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/routine-inspections-suspended-response-coronavirus-outbreak

Supporting adult social care through COVID-19, Care Quality Commission, 19 March 2020: https://medium.com/@CareQualityComm/supporting-adult-social-care-through-covid-19-bb6c10a9dcea

Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers, 19 March 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses, updated 19 March 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

Regulating in light of novel coronavirus: Joint statement from chief executives of statutory regulators of health and care professionals: https://www.socialworkengland.org.uk/news/regulating-in-light-of-novel-coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19): maintaining educational provision Guidance about maintaining educational provision for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England 19 March 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and prisons, Guidance about visiting prisons during the coronavirus pandemic, 13 March, updated 18 March 2020: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-and-prisons

Coronavirus (COVID-19): victim and witness services Information on accessing victim and witness support services, 20 March 2020: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-victim-and-witness-services

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