HMCTS weekly operational summary on courts and tribunals during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

This page provides a weekly summary of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service operational position during the coronavirus pandemic. We will aim to update this every Friday at 5pm.

This page was archived on Friday 21 May 2021. Please see our new operational update.

The new weekly operational update will still be emailed to our subscribers each Sunday evening. On Monday mornings we’ll also publish a link to the weekly update on Twitter and LinkedIn.

You can see our previously issued daily operational updates.

Follow us on Twitter to also check for daily or urgent updates.

HMCTS operational summary for week commencing Monday 17 May 2021

  • We encourage all users to access testing available to them. Home tests are now available from all English and Welsh courts and tribunal sites and will be offered to all professional court users, legal professionals, judiciary, contractors, jurors, witness services and staff who attend scheduled hearings. HMCTS testing update (PDF, 53.8KB, 2 pages)
  • We are currently undertaking an evaluation of remote hearings to understand more about the remote hearing practice implemented during the COVID outbreak, and to make recommendations for use of remote hearings in the longer term. We encourage legal professionals to submit their views for consideration. The survey will close on Tuesday 1 June 2021.
  • Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks (FRSMs) are to be supplied to professional users providing legal consultation in custody suites. This is in addition to the existing safety measures already in place. FRSMs will be issued by staff on entry to court custody suites. Our guidance outlines the use of FRSMs and existing safety measures. Wearing of Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks in custody suites (PDF, 170KB, 3 pages) Professional users should also familiarise themselves with this guidance on how to wear and remove face coverings. How to wear and remove your face covering or mask (PDF, 166KB, 1 page)
  • Reminder: We review and update our COVID risk assessments each week and apply any changes needed. You can ask for a copy from your local court. If you have any questions about how the risk assessment meets government guidance or how it’s being followed, you can raise your concerns following our escalation process. Escalation routes for professional users (PDF, 266KB, 3 pages)
  • Reminder: Court and tribunal users must continue to wear a face covering in all public and communal parts of our buildings. This includes robing rooms. This is in line with Government advice on face coverings (England), Face coverings: guidance for public (Wales) and COVID-19 stage 3: staying safe and protecting others (Scotland). Guidance has also been published to help stop the spread of COVID-19.


  • Updates have been made to the Crown Court Digital Case System (DCS) to allow restriction of access to cases of special sensitivity, such as terrorism cases, cases involving a member of the criminal justice system or a high-profile case (such as those with increased levels of media interest). From Monday 10 May 2021, these cases can be set up so that access will be by ‘Invitation Only’. Where a case file is accessible by ‘Invitation Only’, anyone attempting to gain access who has not been authorised will see an alert on DCS stating that the case is ‘Invitation Only’ and will be provided with contact details to request access. For further information about this new process or if you have a specific question please email
  • Common Platform is the new digital case management system for HMCTS, the judiciary, and professional court users. By the end of May 2021, it is scheduled to go live in selected courts in the north-east, the north-west, the midlands, the south-east and London. We are contacting the defence firms and chambers working with these courts and asking them to register their legal practitioners now for user accounts.
  • The Crown Court is hearing all types of applications and cases, including multi-hander trials. Where appropriate, judges continue to deal with a range of work remotely, including sentencing hearings. There will be no limit on the number of days Crown Courts can sit for the 2021/22 financial year. As we continue to boost recovery in the courts following the pandemic, this will help them maximise capacity across the justice system and safely hold as many hearings as possible over the coming year.


  • Family courts continue to prioritise work as agreed with the President of the Family Division. Work levels are slowly returning to pre-COVID levels and we are working hard to return this to 100%, in a COVID-safe way.



Royal Courts of Justice

Judicial announcements

Previous editions

Published 24 April 2020
Last updated 18 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added translation

  2. Updated for week commencing Monday 17 May 2021

  3. Update for week commencing Monday 17 May published.

  4. Update for week commencing Monday 10 May 2021.

  5. Update for week commencing Monday 3 May 2021 published.

  6. Added translation

  7. Update for week commencing Monday 26 April 2021 published.

  8. Added translation

  9. Update for week commencing Monday 19 April 2021 published.

  10. Update for week commencing Monday 12 April 2021 published.

  11. Added translation

  12. Update for week commencing Monday 5 April 2021 published.

  13. Update for week commencing Monday 29 March 2021 published.

  14. Added translation

  15. Update for week commencing Monday 22 March 2021 published.

  16. Added translation

  17. Update for week commencing Monday 15 March 2021 published.

  18. Added translation

  19. Operational update for week commencing Monday 8 March 2021 published.

  20. Added translation

  21. Update for week commencing Monday 1 March 2021 published.

  22. Added translation

  23. Added line to address the Prime Minister's roadmap to lift lockdown restrictions.

  24. Added translation

  25. Added line on users being accompanied to court.

  26. Update for week commencing Monday 22 February 2021 published.

  27. Added translation

  28. Update for week commencing Monday 15 February published.

  29. Added translation

  30. Update for week commencing Monday 8 February 2021 published.

  31. Added translation

  32. Update for week commencing Monday 1 February 2021 published.

  33. Added translation

  34. Update for week commencing Monday 25 January 2021.

  35. Added translation

  36. Update for week commencing Monday 18 January published.

  37. Added translation

  38. Added line on rapid lateral flow testing.

  39. Update for week commencing Monday 11 January published.

  40. Added translation

  41. Edited opening paragraphs following the Prime Minister's latest national lockdown announcement.

  42. Update for week commencing Monday 4 January 2021 published.

  43. Added translation

  44. Updated for week commencing Monday 28 December 2020 published.

  45. Added translation

  46. Updated local restriction tier info

  47. Update for week commencing Monday 21 December 2020 published.

  48. Update for week commencing Monday 14 December 2020 published.

  49. Added translation

  50. COVID Operating Hours consultation closing date updated.

  51. Update for week commencing Monday 7 December 2020 published.

  52. Added translation

  53. Update for week commencing Monday 30 November published.

  54. Added translation

  55. Updates added for Queen’s Bench Masters Listing and Action Department Information for Court Users and Section 28 press release.

  56. Update for week commencing 23 November 2020 published.

  57. Update for week commencing Monday 16 November 2020 published.

  58. Weekly ops update for 9 Nov 2020 added.

  59. Added translation

  60. National restrictions in England announcements added.

  61. Update for week commencing Monday 2 November 2020 published.

  62. Added translation

  63. Update for week commencing 26 October published.

  64. Adding link to Welsh Government national fire-break

  65. Update for week commencing 19 October 2020 published.

  66. Update to local COVID alert level changes 15 Oct 2020 added.

  67. Link to local COVID Alert Levels guidance in England added.

  68. Added translation

  69. Updated RCJ Administrative Court guidance added.

  70. Update for week commencing Monday 12 October published.

  71. Added translation

  72. Update for week commencing Monday 5 October published.

  73. Added translation

  74. Update for week commencing Monday 28 September 2020 published.

  75. Update for week commencing Monday 21 September 2020 published.

  76. North East local restrictions infomation added.

  77. Update for week commencing 14 September 2020 published.

  78. Update for week commencing Monday 7 September 2020 published.

  79. Update for week commencing 31 August 2020 published.

  80. Update for week commencing Monday 24 August published. Rule changes regarding Writs of Possession have been made and are effective from today.

  81. Added translation

  82. Page update with new weekly opertional summary.

  83. Update for week commencing 17 August 2020 published.

  84. Update for week commencing 10 August 2020 published.

  85. Added translation

  86. Update for week commencing Monday 3 August 2020 published.

  87. Update for week commencing 27 July 2020 published.

  88. Updated to include annoucement from the Lord Chancellor on locations for 10 ‘Nightingale Courts’.

  89. Updated for week commencing 20 July 2020 published.

  90. Update for week commencing 13 July 2020 published.

  91. Added translation

  92. Update for week commencing 6 July 2020 published.

  93. Update for week commencing Monday 29 June 2020 published.

  94. Update for week commencing 22 June 2020 published.

  95. Update for week commencing 15 June 2020 published.

  96. Update for week commencing 8 June 2020 published.

  97. Update for w/c 1 June 2020 published.

  98. Update for w/c 25 May 2020 added.

  99. Update for w/c 18 May 2020 added.

  100. Updaye for w/c 11 May added.

  101. Updated for week commencing 4 May 2020 added.

  102. Added translation