Non-court options to resolve family issues must be considered to avoid cases being left behind, says Linda Lamb 

It would be easy to blame delays in the family court system on the paralytic effects of covid-19 but the root causes predate the virus by a number of years.

The rapid closure of courts and the centralisation of applications where staffing levels weren’t increased enough to cope; lengthy delays to receive hearing dates; the increasing number of lay party litigants following the cessation of legal aid – these all added to the woes which have been well documented and reported.

Before the outbreak, there had been talk of moving the system on digitally, but this was slow and the whiff of a suggestion of remote hearings quickly put down. What has happened as a result of covid-19 is remarkable. Lawyers were thrown into t...

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