Courts during the Coronavirus pandemic…
20 March 2020 by Bushra Elzubeir
A statement was published by the Lord Chancellor on the running of the Courts during the Coronavirus pandemic. As of 18 March 2020, the Lord Chancellor’s line was that the rule of law is vital to the functioning of democracy, even at times like these. Despite the unprecedented public health emergency the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor maintain that the Courts across England and Wales have a critical role to play and should go on sitting.
Plans have been discussed to continue to list future Court cases due to be heard from the summer and beyond, as normal. Trials already underway are intended to proceed as planned with participants expected to attend Court and discharge their normal duties. Those who are exhibiting signs of being unwell or are showing symptoms consistent with having Covid-19 or self-isolating will not be able to attend Court.
It is expected that three quarters of Crown Court trials will be able to continue, despite selected jury members being potentially unwell.
Some civil hearings have been vacated recently. The reasons behind the same are uncertain, although it is anticipated that individual judges or hearing attendees have dictated these events.
The situation remains under review and we anticipate that the judiciary will be issuing further statements in line with the most recent advice received as to public health in England from those at the forefront of dealing with treatment and care for the disease.