Her Honour Judge Sybil Thomas, a Senior Circuit Judge at Birmingham family court, has recently issued 1 20-point protocol guidance on wellbeing which emphasises the need for legal professionals to be able to take breaks.

This includes looking at increasing workloads and pressures being put on those in the family legal system, including solicitors, barristers, judges and court staff. 

The opening to the protocol states, "The impact of this workload has been magnified has been magnified through the development and use of electronic communication, which tempts many into a 'by return, 24/7, last minute' culture of working."

The protocol recommends that full one hour lunch breaks should be provided and taken, and that court hearings should begin no earlier than 10am and finish no later than 4.30pm with an 'absolute cut-off' of 5pm, apart from in 'exceptional' circumstances. 

HHJ Thomas emphasises the importance of a work-life balance, and how legal professionals should be able to have time off, including weekends, holidays and evenings.

The full protocol can be found at; 

https://wmflba.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/birmingham-family-court-wellbeing-protocol-final-10-january-2020.pdf

It certainly makes for interesting reading.