The President of the Family Division, Andrew McFarlane, has been admitted to hospital, according to a judge overseeing a case.

In February, McFarlane confirmed that he was on a waiting list for open heart surgery,  in a statement on the Association of Lawyers for Children’s website. The President was due to undergo surgery in the Spring, but it is likely that the procedure was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, as hospitals were largely closed to patients who were not infected with the virus.

Mr Justice Williams passed the remark in a jugdment for a case which was intended to be heard by McFarlane. Williams said the case had been reallocated to him as a result of the President being admitted to hospital.

Williams’ judgment, which has been published on the free legal database BAILII, explains that he had to attend hearings for the case on 9th and 10th July, which could suggest that the President was already in hospital, or recovering at home.

If the President has undergone open heart surgery, he is unlikely to return to work for several months while he recovers from the procedure.

In his absence, he has appointed Senior Family Division Liaison Judge, Mrs Justice Theis, and Justices Keehan and Cobb to assist her. Justice Hayden has been asked to act as Vice President of the Court of Protection, and Justice Mostyn has been appointed as head of the Financial Remedy Court.

Many thanks to Peter Davies for alerting us to the President’s statement.