Further to Government announcements and public health guidance issued this week regarding Covid-19 restrictions, the steadfast goal of the Courts Service and the Judiciary is to keep Courts and court buildings open and safe. The Courts Service and the Judiciary would like to take this opportunity to remind all those attending at Court and at court buildings of the measures announced at the start of the Michaelmas Term 2021. These measures are to ensure we provide a safe environment for all court users, jurors and for all of those working across the courts estate during this phase of the pandemic. The Courts Service and Judiciary continue to monitor the changing situation and the measures in place are regularly under review.
Courts Service measures
Anyone attending Court should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, or who has been advised by the HSE to restrict their movements should not attend at court premises.
- Everyone entering a Courts Service premises, save for medical or other welfare considerations, is expected to wear a face covering.
- All court users are expected to observe good respiratory and hand hygiene.
- The use of staggered lists, videolink to prisons and remote callovers and courts will continue to assist with management of footfall in buildings.
- The Courts Service will continue to use dedicated staff to manage the movement of persons on our premises.
- The Courts Service has implemented a robust and successful Covid-19 Safety Management Programme to ensure that Courtrooms and all public spaces in court buildings are kept as safe as possible. This programme recognises that the risk of transmission in a courtroom setting increases with the length of time a person is indoors and the number of people in attendance over that period. For this reason, physical distancing measures will remain, and capacity numbers will remain in place for courtrooms and some other spaces within court buildings until further notice. The capacity of each court will be posted on the door of the court.
- Bar rooms will be available for use. Consultation rooms may be available in certain court buildings once they have been risk assessed by local management and found to be safe to open. It is important when using these rooms that occupants comply with all advised Covid-19 safety measures.
- Jury empanelment will continue in offsite venues where appropriate; jurors will be assigned additional seating in the courtroom to allow for social distancing and additional jury deliberation space will be provided in courthouses.
- Lastly, the Courts Service and Judiciary are seeking the assistance of practitioners in the following:
- Please agree in advance as many issues and as much evidence as possible in order to shorten hearings and avoid witnesses attending court unnecessarily.
- Where possible, consultations in relation to upcoming proceedings should take place in the days or weeks preceding the hearing date assigned to a case and should take place otherwise than on Courts Service premises so that the safety of those required to attend court on any given day can be best protected.
- In relation to witness cases, hybrid hearings should be availed of, wherever possible.
Further Information/ Updates
For queries relating to Jury Summons please contact the number provided on your summons and refer to the Courts Service twitter account @CourtsServiceIE. Courts updates will be provided as and when available, please consult www.courts.ie:
· the Covid-19 Notice pages for regional updates at https://www.courts.ie/covid-19-notices and
· general Covid-19 updates at https://www.courts.ie/covid-19-response-updates