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36Family COVID-19 Announcement

19th March 2020

36Family - COVID-19

The Covid-19 virus is causing disruption and worry for us all. We at 36 Family want to update you on and reassure you about the procedures we have in place to ensure business can continue as far as is possible and to continue to provide the high level of service we have always strived to provide. We know that you, our professional clients, want to continue to provide a service to your lay clients, and they in turn continue to want to have their disputes resolved in a timely and cost effective manner. We are determined to do everything we can to ensure that can continue to be done.

Remote Working: Our chambers and our members are equipped with state of the art technology and facilities which are enabling us to continue to work while complying with the Government guidance as to social distancing. Our IT and telephony systems are also enabling our staff and barristers to work remotely from home. When you contact us through our normal phone numbers and emails you will contact the person you are calling seamlessly. We have taken steps to move our conferences and meetings to be held via video conferencing or by phone, whichever is appropriate. If video conferencing or telephone contact is unsuitable for your case please contact us to discuss how we can best meet your and your client’s needs.

Fees: We enjoy our reputation as being very reasonable when it comes to agreeing fees. This will not change over the coming months and we remain happy to be flexible as and when required. We will take everything into account on a case by case basis when agreeing fees.

Court Disruption: We are closely following developments (including through our close links to the judiciary and to the FLBA) and we are confident that we will continue to adapt with minimal fuss to whatever the circumstances may be. We are acutely aware that our clients, both solicitors and lay clients, are concerned about attending court hearings at the moment and are also worried about hearings being cancelled at short notice, with all the attendant wasted cost and delay. Our clerking team is working alongside the other specialist family law chambers to ensure that as far as possible no case should fail to proceed due to counsel becoming unwell or having to self-isolate.

Alternatives to court: We would also wish to remind you of our comprehensive range of ADR processes, all of which can be offered through remote working through our video-conferencing system. 36 Family has one of the largest and most experienced teams offering ADR at the Family Bar, including 6 family law arbitrators (with experience of over 50 arbitrations between them), 9 mediators and 18 barristers offering neutral evaluation services through private FDR appointments. Our ADR team covers a broad range of seniorities and levels of fees. Details can be found here: https://36group.co.uk/family/adr

Our ADR team has also prepared itself to offer alternative processes to the court which can be set up at very short notice.

In financial cases, private FDR appointments and arbitrations can be arranged quickly, possibly even on the same day if necessary. They can be conducted remotely through our virtual video-conferencing system which can accommodate up to 100 users on a single conference call. In order to make it easier for our clients we will from today maintain an up to date list of all availability of our arbitrators and P-FDR ‘judges’ for the next 2-3 weeks together with indicative fees for each individual either a full one-day or a fixed 2 hour private FDR appointment. This will ensure that for every case you will have the choice between the full ‘Rolls Royce’ private FDR process down to much shorter and cheaper options. The list will be updated daily and the most up to date version can be requested by contacting us in the usual way on -
020 7421 8019 or at clerks@36family.co.uk 

Child cases: Although private-FDR appointments are now common in financial remedy proceedings, the process of early neutral evaluation can also be applied to private law children proceedings, and two of our arbitrators are also qualified to conduct arbitrations in children matters. A number of our experienced child law team are ready and willing to provide neutral evaluations and we also have our team of mediators ready to help deal with disputes in relation to children which need to be resolved notwithstanding the current health crisis. Please contact us for further details.

We have attached a guide to private FDR appointments written by Rhys Taylor which we hope you may find informative and useful.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and that we look forward to working with you to get through this unprecedented time. We will get through this, and we will do it together.

Hannah Markham QC (Head of 36 Family)
Martin Kingerley QC (Head of the Children Team)
Andrzej Bojarski (Head of the Family Finance Team)
Danny Chapman (Practice Manager)