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.
We are issuing weekly updates on our operational position and we’ll email our subscribers each Sunday evening with a reminder. On Monday mornings we’ll also publish a link to the weekly update on Twitter.
You can see our previously issued daily operational updates.
Follow us on @HMCTSgovuk to also check for daily or urgent updates.
We’ll keep this under review.
HMCTS operational summary for week commencing Monday 19 April 2021
Next week’s update will be issued on Friday 23 April 2021.
- Updated: This week we opened a Nightingale Court in Preston which will provide additional non-custodial crown capacity for the North West. A full list of all Nightingale Courts can be found on GOV.UK.
- Updated: We encourage all users to access testing available to them. Home test kits will be available for collection from all courts and tribunals and will be offered to all professional court users, legal professionals, judiciary, contractors, jurors, witness services and staff who attend scheduled hearings. We have kits on order, and will be distributing them from mid-April 2021 across our estate. We created an update on testing for people visiting our courts and tribunals on 14 April 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.
- Common Platform is the new digital case management system for HMCTS, the judiciary, and professional court users. By the end of April 2021, it is scheduled to go live in selected courts in the Midlands, Wales, the North West, the North East and the South West. We are contacting the defence firms and chambers working with these courts and asking them to register their legal practitioners now for user accounts.
- Following the Lord Chief Justice’s message on recovery (17 March 2021), court lists in magistrates’ courts will be adjusted for those involved in proceedings to attend in person where the court has directed this, in the interests of justice and where it is safe to do so. The safe operation of the courts continues to be our primary consideration and remote hearings still play an integral part in managing footfall in our buildings safely.
- 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.
- 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.
- Civil court listing priorities. .
- Our Immigration and Asylum digital service enables an appeal against a Home Office immigration decision to be submitted online. Since 31 March 2021 our online service enables legal professionals to submit an appeal where the appellant is outside of the UK.
- The Judiciary have published various updates, user help guides and frequently asked questions documents on their website.
Royal Courts of Justice
- Since Friday 19 February 2021 the Royal Courts of Justice and Rolls Building cause lists have been moving to GOV.UK.
- 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 12 April 2021
- Week commencing Monday 5 April 2021
- Week commencing Monday 29 March 2021
- Week commencing Monday 22 March 2021
- Week commencing Monday 15 March 2021
- Week commencing Monday 8 March 2021
- Week commencing Monday 1 March 2021
- Week commencing Monday 22 February 2021
- Week commencing Monday 15 February 2021
- Week commencing Monday 8 February 2021
- Week commencing Monday 1 February 2021
- Week commencing Monday 25 January 2021
- Week commencing Monday 18 January 2021
- Week commencing Monday 11 January 2021
- Week commencing Monday 4 January 2021