COVID-19: A digest of what’s going on with the courts and tribunals

We highlight some of the key guidance that has been published on how to ensure court business continuity. However we still await guidance from the Chief Coroner.

Civil Court guidance on how to conduct remote hearings

Guidance has been published on how to conduct remote hearings. The Protocol applies to hearings of all kinds, including trials, applications and those in which litigants in person are involved in the County Court, High Court and Court of Appeal (Civil Division), including the Business and Property Courts.

Mills & Reeve represented a Clinical Commissioning Group in the first Skype hearing in the Court of Protection last week – a total of 11 witnesses, three experts together with five sets of legal teams all connected remotely for this hearing.

Courts and tribunals planning and preparation guidance note

The HM Courts & Tribunal Service COVID-19 guidance note has been updated to include guidance on jury service and a link to a new guidance note on applications to adjourn civil and family hearings because of coronavirus. This includes where parties have confirmed or suspected coronavirus, are self-isolating or have childcare responsibilities relating to coronavirus. The Lord Chancellor has authorised that in certain cases the fee can be waived for applications to adjourn a civil or family hearing.

Coronavirus orders

The Law Society Gazette has reported  that Master Davison, sitting in the High Court, granted the claimant’s request for permission for the parties to agree extensions of time for up to 56 days by consent without further order from the court in light of the virus.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court website has been updated to allow for documents to be filed via email where they will be treated as filed on the next working day.

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