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Courts: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 28th April 2020.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Shadow Minister (Education)

What changes are required for the effective operation of courts and tribunals during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Access to justice is an essential part of our lives - and I want to pay tribute to all those involved in keeping the wheels of justice turning - the judges, HMCTS staff, and partners throughout the justice system as well as legal professionals, volunteers and others.

Our priorities are to maintain access to justice – in particular for the most urgent cases such as bail applications and urgent family hearings – and to protect the safety of all who work in the courts and tribunals. To do this, we have already made changes in 5 broad areas:

  • Prioritising cases
  • Supporting our staff
  • Expanding use of video
  • Consolidating courts
  • Cleanliness

Despite the exceptional circumstances, our justice system remained ‘open’ to deal with the most vulnerable in society. In France, for example, courts are closed for all but ‘essential litigation’ and Italy is in full lockdown until 4th May.

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