- My LS
Keeping members safe in court and prepared for potential lockdowns
With ongoing reports that the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to increase across England and Wales, keeping our members safe remains one of our key priorities.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has confirmed that courts and tribunals will continue to function as normal despite local restrictions in:
There are currently no plans to change scheduled hearings.
Our main concern continues to be the safety and health of practitioners and all courts users, including staff.
We’re aware that courts are getting busier. We ask you to continue observing social distancing rules.
Court rooms continue to be covered by government guidance that states that court users may wear face coverings whilst in the court room.
We advise members with concerns about their health and safety to contact the court prior to attending and request a copy of the court’s risk assessment.
This will allow you to:
- make sure that the courts apply the guidelines effectively
- raise concerns if that’s not happening
If you’re contacting your local court by email, we suggest that you address the request for the attention of the senior person on site.
These details should be readily available, but if not, you can email us at email@example.com.
We also encourage you to report any concerning practice you see on the ground by:
We continue to have concerns that allowing lawyers to break quarantine to attend hearings will:
- increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission
- pose a significant danger to court users, including the most vulnerable
Thanks to all who contributed to this issue, which we put to government on your behalf.
We’ve had confirmation from government that they expect everyone who uses and/or works in the courts and tribunals to observe quarantine unless explicitly required to attend court.
This includes notifying the court of any prior requirement to quarantine ahead of any hearings, so that consideration can be given to remote participation and/or rescheduling.
We urge anybody in this situation to be cautious and to consider fully the potential health implications if they were to break their self-isolation period to attend in person.
Given the nature of the pandemic, including the potential for a second wave, and the safety implications connected with face-to-face hearings we believe that remote hearings, where possible, are usually better than delays.