Covid-19 Level 5 Criminal Jury Trial Update
Keeping courts safe and open while prioritising essential court services at Level 5
Limited new criminal trials to commence from 16 November 2020
Wednesday 11 November 2020; The Chief Justice, the Presidents of the Jurisdictions and the Courts Service have been consulting on a regular basis to assess the situation under Level 5 and to ensure the on-going safe administration of justice. Every effort is being made to keep courts open and safe, whilst prioritising access to justice of critical and essential court services.
When Level 5 restrictions were imposed in October, the Judiciary and the Courts Service confirmed that any criminal jury trials which had already commenced would continue. Those trials have been running safely over the past three weeks, with strict adherence to the protective measures provided for in the Courts Service Covid-19 health and safety management programme. Jurors have provided positive feedback in relation their attendance at those trials. The Government has confirmed that courts are an essential service and has deemed that persons travelling beyond 5km for the purposes of attending court are exempt from current travel restrictions https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/#domestic-travel-restrictions.
Having assessed the volume of Court work being conducted safely, it has been decided that a limited number of trials will commence next week from Monday 16 November 2020 onwards. Members of the public have been summoned to attend jury service in the Courts of Criminal Justice (CCJ) where they will be empanelled for a trial at the Central Criminal Court and a small number of Circuit cases already listed. It has also been decided that conditions are sufficiently safe such that, with effect from Monday 23 November 2020 onwards, further trials will be held into December. Members of the public have been summoned to attend for jury service as follows:
- Central Criminal Court in CCJ, Cork, Kilkenny and Castlebar venues from the week commencing the 23 November 2020 onwards
- For trials listed in the Circuit Criminal Court in Tullamore, Limerick, Trim Drogheda, Waterford and Wexford venues from the week beginning 23 November 2020 onwards
- For trials listed in the Circuit Criminal Court in Cork the week beginning the 30 November 2020 onwards
- For trials listed in the Circuit Criminal Court in a Galway venue from the 1 December 2020 onwards.
Members of the public summoned for jury duty for the week commencing the 16 or 23 November 2020 onwards, who have not received a cancellation notification, are asked to attend court in accordance with their summons. People called for jury service should know that the Courts are providing a safe environment for jury trials during Level 5 and all protective measures and standards are being maintained at this time.
In general, across the various Courts, the work that has been conducted remotely will continue and family law, child care and domestic violence applications in the relevant Courts will continue to be prioritised. The work of the Courts is constantly being reviewed in line with public health guidance. Accordingly, the amount and nature of the work being transacted in the courts at any given time will be subject to change depending upon current public health guidance and all other relevant considerations.
It is important that anyone attending court buildings continue to practice the public health measures, follow the guidance of the Courts and the health and safety protocols put in place by the Courts Service namely:
- wear face masks
- physical distance at 2m
- continue good hand and respiratory hygiene
- avoid congregating in groups
- comply with directions from Courts Service staff in relation to the management of the numbers of persons in court buildings and
- if you have symptoms or if you have been directed to restrict your movement or awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test, you are asked not to attend court.