New guidance for courts post “Freedom Day”
The government has confirmed that the legal requirement for social distancing in England will be removed from Monday 19 July 2021, as well as the detail of which other aspects of step 4 on the roadmap will be adopted. In Wales, meanwhile, it is hoped most restrictions will be lifted on 7 August 2021. In Scotland, it is hoped that all major restrictions will be lifted on 9 August 2021.
HMCTS have published its updated guidance for all court and tribunal users during the COVID-19 pandemic, Organisational Risk Assessment and assessment tool, and keeping our buildings safe, secure and clean which forms the basis on which it will work post 19th July.
In a blog last week Acting CEO Kevin Sadler provided details on the changes as well as committing to reducing outstanding cases.
“From 19 July 2021, based on government and Public Health expert advice, our courts and tribunals in England will only be required to have minimal social distancing measures in place, with some exceptions:
- Face coverings will still be required in our staff, public and communal parts of our buildings
- Based on the particular assessed risk to detainees and those working and visiting our custody suites – the areas will continue with all social distancing measures introduced during the pandemic such as touchpoint cleaning, locked down phones, reduced numbers and fluid-resistant surgical masks (FRSMs).
- To reduce the risk of the virus spreading, we will continue using screens or barriers to separate people from each other who will come into close proximity with others they do not normally meet.”
Adding that the current guidance will remain under review.
HMCTS has organised an online panel discussion for legal professionals on Tuesday 27 July 2021 from 5pm to 6pm. The session will discuss how it is responding to Step 4 of the government’s roadmap out of national restrictions for England and will be chaired by Paul Harris, HMCTS Operations Director
Questions and feedback will be provided by legal professional body representatives who will also sit on the panel, including representatives from The Law Society, Bar Council, Criminal Bar Association and CILEX.
You can register to attend here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hmcts-roadmap-milestone-4-registration-152691262677