HMCTS operational position : weekly summary updates

HMCTS have updated their operational summary for week commencing Monday 1st March 2021.

-Updated: Next week we’re opening a Nightingale Court at Birmingham Maple House, which will provide 4 additional courtrooms for Crown, Civil and Family work. We’re also opening a Nightingale Court in Barbican, London, which will provide 2 additional courtrooms for Crown Court work.

-Updated: Further to the Prime Minister’s announcement of the roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions (Monday 22 February 2021) – courts and tribunals continue to operate within COVID-secure guidelines. 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: Jurors must wear fluid resistant surgical masks, provided by the court, in smaller deliberation rooms (that operate with 1m distancing plus mitigations like screens). We have amended our organisational risk assessment accordingly, following updated public health advice

– To try to keep the number of people attending courts and tribunals in person to a minimum, we’re encouraging those involved in the legal process to only bring one bring one person with them if they feel they need support – such as a friend or family member.

-Our court and tribunal finder service is the authoritative source for the operational status of all our buildings. Please check before travelling to any court or tribunal building.

-We encourage all court and tribunals users to take part in any Community Testing Programme that is available locally. You can check your local authority website to find out more. In locations where new virus variants have been found the government strongly advises you to take a COVID test, whether you are showing symptoms or not.

-Since Monday 15 February 2021, the Evidence Presentation System (EPS) has been rolling out to Crown & magistrates’ courts, replacing Clickshare, for use in presenting multi-media evidence in court.

-Reminder: All those essential to keeping the justice system running are considered critical workers. This applies to all those who work in courts and tribunals, as well as jurors and public court users, who are permitted to attend their place of work when necessary, to travel, to stay overnight in accommodation. Critical workers can access school places for children.

-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

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.

Family

– Since Wednesday 24 February 2021 probate practitioners submitting applications on MyHMCTS will need to confirm that 20 working days have elapsed since they submitted form IHT400 to HMRC. This will align the HMCTS and HMRC processes allowing us to process applications with fewer delays and stops.

– 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.

For more detail on updates click here.

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