Family President warns of ‘fatigue and demoralisation’ among practitioners

Family lawyers were urged this week at Resolution’s Future of Family Practice Online Conference to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing.

The President of the Family Division praised the ‘can do’ approach of family lawyers through the pandemic but warned of a fatigue and demoralisation endemic across the sector. The intervention comes as Resolution launches a wellbeing survey targeted at family law professionals.

Speaking at the Future of Family Practice Online Conference, Sir Andrew McFarlane praised the lengths family practitioners went to in order to ensure hearings continued throughout the lockdown but acknowledged that this came at a price:

“From day one there has been a can-do mentality”, he told delegates. “Family lawyers can hold their heads high looking back at what we have achieved over the past six months.”

He continued:

“Everyone is fatigued. It’s one thing to get through the first peak of Covid…but to then turn the corner to find out there is another six months to go is very dispiriting and demoralising. One DFJ recently described it to me as remorseless. That’s how it must feel for everyone right now. So it’s all the more important for you to look after your wellbeing.”

Resolution recently launched a major research project to identify the key issues affecting the wellbeing of family justice professionals. It is urging practitioners – members and non-members alike – to complete a survey which will help the organisation understand how it can bring about positive change.

Every practitioner who completes the survey will receive a free place at a webinar run by LawCare, the leading legal mental health charity, who this month, launched a ground-breaking research study ‘Life In The Law’ ahead of World Mental Health Day too.

Juliet Harvey, National Chair of Resolution, echoed the concerns of the president:

“COVID and lockdown has certainly brought wellbeing in the workplace into sharper focus. The coming winter months will bring with them greater challenges and that’s why we’re conducting this research so we can be best placed to support the entire family law community. Please complete our survey, share it with colleagues and attend the webinar.”

Complete the survey here.

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