Law Society Gazette – McFarlane warns of remote hearing ‘overload’ after wrong care order

Stephen Lue of the Garden Court Chambers Family Team represented the grandmother in this case.

The Law Society Gazette reported on 4 May 2020:

The President of the family division has said courts must make ‘hard-headed’ decisions about which cases must be heard remotely and those which can wait. 

In B (Children)(Remote Hearing: Interim Care Order) Sir Andrew McFarlane warned of courts becoming ‘overloaded’ with remote hearings after finding that a child had been wrongly removed from the care of his grandmother and placed in foster care. The judge said the order should not have been made and ruled that the child return home, having been subject to a ‘chain reaction in the course of which fundamental legal and procedural principles came to be compromised’.

McFarlane criticised the use of a telephone hearing for making the decision, saying a video link should be a ‘default option’ in urgent cases.