As part of its court recovery plan HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has agreed to pilot a COVID hours court. The site chosen for the pilot is Liverpool Crown Court and it will start in the week commencing 17 August 2020.
This will be tested for a least one month with an ongoing review.
We are considering what this model means for our members and will update this information shortly.
Liverpool pilot model
In one court room, two lists will operate:
1. A trial in the morning starting 9am to 1pm
- Trials will stop at 1pm and there will be no possibility to extend into the afternoon
- Trials continuing from the morning session will go into the morning session on the following day
- The morning team will consist of a separate judge, separate court staff, separate advocates and jurors
The court will be cleaned over lunchtime.
2. A trial in the afternoon starting at 2pm to 6pm
- This again will consist of a separate judge, court staff, advocates and jurors
- Trials continuing from the afternoon session will go into the afternoon session the following day
Available sitting time is eight hours depending on length of break.
Alongside the pilot model, a standard hours court will operate. This will ensure that if for any reason a case is unsuitable for the morning or later session court, it can still be listed in the usual way.
Types of case to be listed
The suggestion is that custody and bail cases will be listed for the morning session and only bail cases will be listed for the afternoon session, with s.28 cases being listed in either.
Further information about the court and tribunal recovery in response to COVID-19 can be found on the HMCTS website.