This page provides advice and guidance for all court and tribunal users during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be updated when new advice is available.
Coming to a court or tribunal during the pandemic
Courts and tribunals are open for face to face hearings, such as jury trials. The government has confirmed a move to step 4 and the removal of most legal restrictions to control COVID-19. In Wales, it is hoped most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on 7 August 2021. In Scotland, it is hoped all major restrictions will be lifted on 9 August 2021.
From 19 July 2021, based on Public Health expert advice, our courts and tribunals in England will have some restrictions in place. We will continue to reduce the risk of the virus spreading by:
- requiring all users to wear a face covering in public and communal parts of our buildings
- using screens or barriers to separate people from each other where they will come into close proximity with others they do not normally meet
- assessing our estate for ventilation and continuing with our existing ventilation standards. Carbon dioxide monitors will also be used as additional assurance in building areas identified through our risk assessment process.
Find out what to expect when coming to a court or tribunal building and how we are keeping our buildings safe and clean.
If you test positive, have COVID-19 symptoms, are self-isolating, or quarantining after returning from travel abroad, do not come to our buildings.
You should contact the court or tribunal to let them know and follow NHS advice. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should continue to follow the latest government rules and advice. Contact us if you have concerns about coming to one of our buildings.
We have increased the use of telephone, video and other technology to hold many hearings remotely. Your hearing notice will inform you whether it is taking place in person, via video or telephone.
While public health legislation allows those involved in legal proceedings to come out of self-isolation when necessary, you must contact the court or tribunal first who will decide if you need to attend.
Coming to court as a juror
If you receive a jury summons, you will need to attend. Jury staff will contact you to confirm the days and time you need to attend during your service, or if you are no longer needed.
In some of our deliberation rooms, you must wear a fluid-resistant surgical mask – given the time you will spend in contact with others you do not normally meet. We will provide you with fluid-resistant surgical masks and will let you know how to put them on and take them off, store them and dispose of them.
We will also be offering home test kits to jurors.
Coming to court as a witness
If you are coming to court as a witness, we have specific advice for providing evidence as a witness.
Find out more about accessing support for victims and witnesses.
Coming to court for other reasons
Media and members of the public will be also able to attend court hearings in person. Contact the court directly for more information.
We encourage individuals to take a free, rapid lateral flow COVID-19 test before coming to a court or tribunal. These are readily available in your local area, or order a test online to be sent to you.
Assessing and managing the COVID-19 risk
We ensure the safety of everyone who comes into our buildings through our court and tribunal coronavirus safety controls, and by following government guidelines and Public Health advice.
Staff in our buildings are working hard to ensure the safety of all users. We encourage all court users to raise any issues in our buildings with local managers.
We assess risk in line with government and Public Health guidance. Please see our organisational risk assessment and assessment tool.
These indicators guide local assessments of all our buildings and help us identify and act on any areas of concern.
You can contact the court or tribunal directly to request a copy of an individual COVID-19 risk assessment for our buildings.
Keeping up to date with the impact of COVID-19 on courts and tribunals
We update the operational running of the courts and tribunals through:
- advice on GOV.UK
- our weekly operational update
- our find a court or tribunal service
- our Twitter channel @HMCTSgovuk
Judicial announcements and guidance related to coronavirus outbreak
Working towards recovery
In our recovery update, we publish details setting out the we are doing in response to COVID-19. Our vulnerability action plan outlines the way courts and tribunals have changed the way they work to run safely during COVID-19 and enable vulnerable people to access the justice system.