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.
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.
- 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. Professional users should also familiarise themselves with this guidance on how to wear and remove face coverings.
- 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.
- 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 CTDD-CrimeSupport@Justice.gov.uk.
- 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.
- Updated: Changes to civil fees will come into force on 18 May 2021.This follows an MoJ consultation in December 2020. The statutory instrument (SI) has passed through parliament, and was voted through on 27 and 28 April 2021.
- Civil court listing priorities. .
- The Judiciary has published various updates, user help guides and frequently asked questions documents on their website.
Royal Courts of Justice
- The Royal Courts of Justice operational update: .
- The High Court is covering work according to the High Court Contingency Plan.
- More detailed guidance for the Administrative Court Office.
- The Court of Appeal Civil Division is covering work according to the RCJ Court of Appeal Civil urgent business priorities. .
- The Court of Appeal Criminal Division is covering work according to the RCJ Court of Appeal Criminal Emergency Plan. .
- The Senior Costs Judge has published a note on hearings and detailed assessments in the Senior Courts Costs Office .
- The Judicial Office has published a message from the Lord Chief Justice on recovery within the courts.
- The Judicial Office has published important advice and guidance, including user help guides.
- Week commencing Monday 10 May 2021
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