UPDATE – Covid-19 and the Courts

With the country grinding to a standstill it is paramount that the justice system remains functionable to help maintain public order, albeit it may be functioning in a different and more remote way to ensure that people remain safe in the Covid 19 Pandemic. A City Law Firm are keeping up to date with all relevant changes.

The increasing risk and inability  to have groups of people together is conflicting with the court processes, but it is a measure which the government has introduced as Marital law which means that we all need to abide by these new measures or be subjected to criminal sanctions. In the interests of justice, it is still important to have trials running as smoothly as they can and the courts have implemented the following key changes to ensure that justice can prevail:

  • No new jury trials will be started until further notice. However, current jury trials will continue.
  • The Magistrates court, who will likely be dealing with breaches to the restrictions put in place to combat Covid-19 will only cover urgent matters. This includes people in overnight custody and brought in from prison. They are also working on setting up other departments that can aid in dealing with matters, the extent of this is yet unknown but we would predict this may include video hearings.
  • Crown court and all higher Courts will only cover the most urgent work.
  • The Government are working with the judiciary to implement online courts.

The legal system is working incredibly hard to adhere to the needs of the public in this difficult time. As a result, they are implementing the following measures to make life easier for all.

  • They will suspend all ongoing housing possession cases which means that Landlord’s who wish to evict under the section 8 (for breaches of a tenancy agreement or rent arrears of over 2 months payments due) or section 21 (which is a no fault and absolute rights to possession) of the Housing Act, procedures will not go forward now for 3 months. This will provide tenants with a grace period where they will not be able to be evicted.
  • They are implementing strict social distancing measure in the courts and tribunals, which would mean each person maintaining the 2 meter distances needed to keep safe.
  • All but essential meetings are moving online, this is likely to include more court hearings, plea hearings and directions or case management hearings.

With this in mind our lawyers remain vigilant to the updates to make sure they fully comply and progress client matters, as well as seeking wherever possible to negotiate and settle.

Your statutory time limits for issuing claims will still apply so do seek early advice and make sure you not delay matters. If you need to talk to our litigation lawyers do not hesitate to contact us.