Update on courts during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

The safety of all those working within and using the justice system is paramount.

Balancing safety with the need to keep the wheels of justice turning is incredibly difficult.

We recognise that it is impossible for HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to maintain a full complement of courts open to the public at this time. In some courts it is very difficult to organise matters to ensure that people can maintain social distancing, and this was already posing health risks that were of serious concern to our members.

In these difficult circumstances, holding those hearings that require physical attendance in a reduced number of courts, and ensuring full safety measures in those courts, is a logical approach.

Local, accessible justice is however is vital to our society. We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS to keep those courts which remain open running effectively, using technology wherever possible.

It will also be key for the courts to be reopened fully once the crisis is over, to avoid any long term restrictions on the public's access to justice.

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