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Coronavirus (COVID-19): HMCTS publishes updated operational summary

Date:8 APR 2020
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HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has updated its daily operational summary on courts and tribunals operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 7 April 2020 summary provides that HMCTS will proactively contact parties directly when courts and tribunals are closed, restarting work on police traffic prosecution cases and the re-opening of the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal Bradford office.

All courts and tribunals

New announcements

• where courts and tribunals are closed, HMCTS will contact parties directly to confirm new hearing arrangements, contacting those parties whose hearings were scheduled to happen first, and work their way through the list as quickly as possible

Maintained announcements

The 7 April summary retains from the previous summary:

• follow HMCTS guidance on telephone and video hearings during the COVID-19 outbreak

• the Royal Courts of Justice fees office remains closed 

• the Royal Courts of Justice operational update remains the same

• the High Court is covering work according to the High Court Contingency Plan

• the work of courts and tribunals will be consolidated into fewer buildings, maintaining the safety of all in the courts and in line with public health advice. HMCTS has launched a courts and tribunals tracker list during coronavirus outbreak that lists open, staffed and suspended courts during the coronavirus outbreak. See the most up-to-date tracker here

• Courts and Tribunals Service Centres will be available from 8am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 4pm on Fridays until further notice

• the South East region will only be taking calls between 10am to 2pm in all jurisdictions with Chelmsford, Norwich, Ipswich and Basildon Crown Courts being temporarily unable to answer calls

• HMCTS is continuing to avoid physical hearings and arrange remote hearings wherever possible and is continuing to implement social distancing measures in courts and tribunals where physical attendance is necessary

• the telephone contact hours for the HMCTS Scotland contact centre are 9am to 4pm

• the Judicial Office has published a number of important updates by jurisdiction

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Criminal courts

New announcements

•  HMCTS are planning to re-start work on police traffic prosecution cases that can be dealt with remotely

•  questions on paying outstanding criminal court fines should be sent to the National Compliance and Enforcement Service at NCESBCT@justice.gov.uk or call 0300 123 9252

Maintained announcements

The 7 April summary retains from the previous summary that:

•  there are no new jury trials underway

•  magistrates’ courts are only covering urgent work

•  Crown Courts are dealing with a range of work including sentencing hearings, all urgent applications including applications for bail and applications to extend custody time limits, pre-trial preparation hearings and further case management hearings. Much of which is being done remotely

• the Court of Appeal Criminal Division covering work according to the RCJ Court of Appeal Criminal Emergency Plan

Civil courts

New announcements

•  there are no new notable announcements for civil courts in the 7 April summary

Maintained announcements

The 7 April summary retains from the previous summary that:

• the civil courts listing priorities for County Courts remains the same

• the Court of Appeal Civil Division is covering work according to the RCJ Court of Appeal Civil urgent business priorities.

Family courts

New announcements

•   there are no new notable announcements for family courts in the 7 April summary

Maintained announcements

The 7 April summary retains from the previous summary:

•  that the family court business priorities remain the same

•  to follow the C100 (child arrangement) guidance when making C100 applications for Child Arrangements Order, Prohibited Steps and Specific Issue Order applications.

Tribunals

New announcements

•  the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal Bradford office is now open after a temporary closure

Maintained announcements

The 7 April summary retains from the previous summary that:

• the First and Upper Tier Immigration and Asylum Tribunal operations remain the same.

• follow First- Tier (Mental Health) Tribunal telephone hearing guidance.

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