Guidance

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.

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 30 November 2020

Next week’s update will be issued on Friday 4 December 2020.

  • Updated: Further to announcements on the new national tier restrictions in England, the national rules in Wales and restrictions in Scotland, courts and tribunals will continue to operate within COVID-secure guidelines. The Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals have published a message about the new national COVID-19 restrictions for England (1 November 2020) and what this means for courts and tribunals. As an essential public service, the work of the courts and tribunals continues and there are currently no plans to change scheduled hearings. We are following public health advice and are experienced in managing COVID-secure ways of working with a range of mitigating measures in place.
  • Updated: Over 70 more of our buildings have been added to the list of courts and tribunals operating the professional users’ access scheme. Fast-lane access will be enabled during busy times for registered members which will help to reduce entry time.
  • Updated: The Nightingale Court at 102 Petty France is being expanded to include three additional courtrooms. Two of the additional courtrooms are due to go live in the week commencing 30 November, with the third courtroom scheduled to open in the week commencing 7 December.
  • Updated: Following our publication of the crime recovery plan we are consulting on COVID operating hours. Consultation closes on 10 December 2020.
  • Reminder: Crown Courts, magistrates’ courts, County and Family Courts, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Rolls Building, and tribunals will close over the Christmas period, although some emergency courts may operate over the holiday on these days.
  • Reminder: Court and tribunal users must wear a face covering in all public and communal parts of our buildings in England and Wales. 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).
  • Reminder: All court and tribunal users are reminded to familiarise themselves with the criteria of a ‘close contact’ and what is meant by ‘contact’ with someone who has tested positive as stated in public health guidance.
  • Reminder: You should not come to any of our court and tribunal buildings if you have coronavirus symptoms, if you are awaiting a test result, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if you have been instructed by the NHS to self-isolate. Please contact the court or tribunal before you are due to attend so that suitable arrangements can be made for your hearing. Read our guidance about coming to court during the pandemic. While public health legislation allows those involved in legal proceedings to come out of self-isolation when necessary, you must consult with the court or tribunal first who will consider and decide on appropriate arrangements.
  • We’ve updated our Organisational Risk Assessment so we can continue to ensure the safety of anyone entering our buildings during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Professional Court User (PCU) WiFi will no longer be available in our buildings from 15 January 2021. Users will need to register for a GovWiFi account before this date. Simply Text ‘Go’ to 07537417417 to get connected. This is a one time registration only. You will then be able to connect wherever GovWiFi is available. If users have any technical difficulties, they should contact the BT Service Desk on 0845 600 6909.

Crime

  • Jury trials have resumed in 79 Crown Courts and are running in 5 Nightingale Courts and 4 other existing court locations.
  • We’ve installed plexiglass screens into over 300 courtrooms and jury deliberation rooms. Over 250 courtrooms have been assessed as being capable and available to hold jury trials.
  • We are installing new Portakabin® buildings to provide temporary rooms for jury assembly and deliberation. We have installed Portakabin® buildings so far at 14 court locations (Birmingham, Bradford, Caernarfon, Grimsby, Guildford, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Newcastle, Northampton, Preston, Swansea, Teesside and Woolwich).
  • Updated: We have completed our national rollout of technology to support the section 28 service which spares vulnerable victims and witnesses the stress of attending court. The service and technology is now available in every Crown Court across England and Wales.
  • Crown Courts continue to deal with a range of work remotely, including sentencing hearings and all urgent applications including applications for bail and applications to extend custody time limits. Pre-trial preparation hearings and further case management hearings are also taking place.
  • Magistrates’ courts are now dealing with most business type hearings. Since August 2020, magistrates’ courts have been completing more cases than have been received and the number of sittings are almost at pre-COVID levels. We are working hard to return this to 100%, in a COVID-safe way.
  • The judiciary has published a note of listing in magistrates’ courts during coronavirus outbreak.

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Royal Courts of Justice

Judicial announcements

Previous editions

Published 24 April 2020
Last updated 30 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added translation

  2. Update for week commencing Monday 30 November published.

  3. Added translation

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

  5. Update for week commencing 23 November 2020 published.

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

  7. Weekly ops update for 9 Nov 2020 added.

  8. Added translation

  9. National restrictions in England announcements added.

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

  11. Added translation

  12. Update for week commencing 26 October published.

  13. Adding link to Welsh Government national fire-break

  14. Update for week commencing 19 October 2020 published.

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

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

  17. Added translation

  18. Updated RCJ Administrative Court guidance added.

  19. Update for week commencing Monday 12 October published.

  20. Added translation

  21. Update for week commencing Monday 5 October published.

  22. Added translation

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

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

  25. North East local restrictions infomation added.

  26. Update for week commencing 14 September 2020 published.

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

  28. Update for week commencing 31 August 2020 published.

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

  30. Added translation

  31. Page update with new weekly opertional summary.

  32. Update for week commencing 17 August 2020 published.

  33. Update for week commencing 10 August 2020 published.

  34. Added translation

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

  36. Update for week commencing 27 July 2020 published.

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

  38. Updated for week commencing 20 July 2020 published.

  39. Update for week commencing 13 July 2020 published.

  40. Added translation

  41. Update for week commencing 6 July 2020 published.

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

  43. Update for week commencing 22 June 2020 published.

  44. Update for week commencing 15 June 2020 published.

  45. Update for week commencing 8 June 2020 published.

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

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

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

  49. Updaye for w/c 11 May added.

  50. Updated for week commencing 4 May 2020 added.

  51. Added translation