The City

Courts and tribunals: update following the prime minister’s announcement

Following the prime minister’s announcement of a third lockdown, it's confirmed that the work of courts and tribunals continues as an essential public service.

We agree that it's essential for justice to continue to be delivered and we maintain that the safety of both court users and those who work within the justice system is of the utmost importance.

Given the transmissibility of the new variant, it will be important to reduce the footfall, wherever possible, within the courts.

We strongly endorse the lord chief justice’s position that “no participant in legal proceedings should be required by a judge or a magistrate to attend court unless it is necessary in the interests of justice. Facilitating remote attendance of all or some of those involved in hearings is the default position in all jurisdictions, whether backed by regulations or not”.

We've been listening to your concerns and sought further assurances from acting CEO of HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), Kevin Sadler, in relation to the new variant.

Read the feedback we received

We're in regular correspondence with HMCTS and will continue to keep you updated on emerging issues related to the court and tribunal service.

If you've raised any concerns about safety and hygiene/cleanliness, with either the court manager or through HMCTS channels, which you do not think have been appropriately addressed, let us know by emailing

Further information

Read the lord chief justice's full statement

Read our coronavirus best practice for safety in court and tribunal buildings

Read the government's national lockdown guidance

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