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Family President asks Court of Appeal judge to consider how to achieve efficient return to court, but predicts some form of remote working likely to foreseeable future

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has asked Lord Justice Baker to examine how the most efficient return to court can be achieved over the coming months.

The move follows the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, signalling earlier this month that it would be “possible and desirable” to increase attendance in person in the courts where it is safe and in the interests of justice.

Sir Andrew said: “The gradual return to face-to-face hearings will not be the end of remote working, indeed some form of remote working is likely to be required for the foreseeable future and we have learned that, in some cases, remote working is the most efficient way of dealing with some hearings. The aim is to get the balance right and this period of review is plainly very important.

The Family President asked Lord Justice Baker at the beginning of the pandemic to lead the judicial recovery group for the Family Court.

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To ensure that the process of review encompasses all of the work of the Family Court, Baker LJ has expanded his group to include a representative for the Financial Remedies Courts: HHJ Stuart Farquhar.

Sir Andrew said: “It is essential that family continues to collaborate with civil and other jurisdictions, and Baker LJ will be working closely with Simler LJ who is leading a similar project in the civil jurisdiction.”

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