Seeing your ex again after a difficult separation or where there has been domestic abuse or domestic violence can be hard and very distressing. The court can consider applications for ‘special measures’ in family cases.
Special measures are steps the court will consider taking to protect one person in a case from coming into contact with another. They are applied for when a court hearing has been listed and both parties are required to attend, but one party is not comfortable seeing the other.
The range of measures available depends on what is happening at a particular hearing. For example, if you have a legal representative for a hearing and are not directed to give evidence yourself, special measures may include screens in the court room.
If evidence is going to be taken at the hearing, it may be that there are also screens available to ensure that when you give evidence you do not need to see your opponent. However, it is always important for the judge to see you and your opponent.
Other special measures are available, depending on the circumstances. These include having a separate entrance and exit to the court building, a separate waiting room, permission for support workers to come into the court room with you, and on occasion, the option of giving evidence by video link.
It may be helpful to know that the court has its own security staff. If there is any trouble they will intervene when necessary.
The court is a busy place and we recommend that if you need support it is best to bring only one friend or family member, or a support worker from a recognised organisation.