Backlog of Cases - Going Into Extra Time
Posted on 5th August 2022
The courts are currently facing an ever growing backlog of cases, causing the wait between hearings to grow from weeks to months, but why has this happened, and how is it affecting the children going through this process?
In February 2022, there was a hearing for a child arrangements order. The second hearing, during which it is intended that the details of the order will be sorted out, is scheduled for October 2022. We have to ask, is this in the best interests of the children involved?
In January 2022, a mother sought an enforcement order so that she could see her daughter, who was being withheld from her by the child's father. The first hearing to sort this matter out is scheduled for December 2022, 11 months later. During this time, the mother will have no contact with her child, and the maternal bond will be seriously damaged because of this. How can this be in the best interest of the child? All that time will pass, and perhaps the hearing will end up going in the mother's favour, but they will still have had a whole year apart. Did this have to happen? Is this not a time sensitive issue? What is the stance of the courts in cases such as these?
The courts have blamed COVID-19, and the several lockdowns for the backlog of cases, but we know this to be untrue. During lockdown, the court system actually became more efficient, not less. Two, maybe three, in-person hearings can take place in a day. Far more hearings can take place over video call. As we move out of restrictions, the courts are keen to return to in-person hearings, and this is where the backlog is coming from. If first hearings were all conducted over video, the calendar would be cleared much more efficiently, but this is not the stance the courts have taken.
You have to wonder if maintaining tradition is this important. That the way things have always been done cannot possibly be improved upon, even if this is the system that is failing countless families across the country due to the backlog of cases. As we move into extra time, won't somebody think of the children?
Contact us today if you need a assistance with child arrangements order cases.
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