Remote working will become the norm in the civil and family courts, the lord chief justice said in his latest update on the coronavirus crisis on 19 March. 

“The rules in both the civil and family courts are flexible enough to enable telephone and video hearings of almost everything,” Lord Burnett of Maldon told the judiciary. “Any legal impediments will be dealt with.”

Lord Burnett said the announcement on 18 March that schools will be closing three weeks early coupled with the need for those over 70 and with health problems to stay at home “will have an immediate impact on the ability and willingness of people to attend courts and tribunals”.

In response, he said HM Courts & Tribunals Service is working urgently on expanding the availability of technology but in the meantime we have phones, some video facilities and Skype. “User information on Skype is on the intranet and otherwise widely available. Further work is being done is being done in connection with the criminal courts.”