Thursday 20 January: Following a review of the current Covid 19 situation and available resources, by the Chief Justice, Presidents of the Court of Appeal, High Court, Circuit Court and District Court and the Courts Service, it is intended that physical in court business, which has been disrupted by the pandemic this month, should resume on a phased basis in the coming weeks. This month, Covid 19 has caused unprecedented numbers of courts users, Courts Service staff, members of the Gardai and Prison Service and other witnesses, practitioners, and Judges, being unable to attend at Courthouses. Therefore, a decision was taken to limit in-person hearings and jury trials and Notices were issued in each jurisdiction setting out how court business would be facilitated. The position was to be reviewed on the 19 January 2022 and it is now considered possible to start resuming in-person hearings on a more general basis. Resumption of business and in-person cases will be arranged as resources permit on a location-by-location basis across the country.
Successful resumption of business will be on a phased basis and will be reliant on users continuing to follow the Covid 19 public health measures. The main aim of both the Courts Service and the judiciary is to keep Courts and court offices open and safe to provide access to justice.
As we prepare for the phased resumption of business in the coming weeks the Chief Justice, Presidents and Courts Service would like to remind those with court business attending Courts and court buildings of the importance of following the Covid 19 health measures and protocols:
1. Anyone with symptoms of Covid 19 or who has had a positive antigen test, is awaiting a PCR test or test results should not attend at court premises. If you are a close contact, you should follow the advice provided to you by the HSE.
2. Everyone entering a Courts Service premises, save for medical or other welfare considerations, is expected to wear a face covering.
3. 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. Physical distancing measures and capacity numbers are in place for all courtrooms and some other spaces within court buildings and should be strictly observed.
4. All court users are expected to observe good respiratory and hand hygiene.
5. The use of staggered lists, videolink to prisons, remote callovers and courts will continue to assist with management of footfall in buildings.
6. The Courts Service will continue to use dedicated staff to manage the movement of persons in our Courthouses and we would ask that their directions are respected. They fulfil an important role in ensuring Courtroom capacity and health and safety measures are adhered to for the safety of all court users and they require the co-operation of all court users to do this.
7. Occupants of bar rooms and consultation rooms should comply with all advised Covid-19 safety measures.
8. Lastly, the assistance of legal practitioners is particularly sought on the following matters:
- 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.
Updates on the resumption of business will be communicated through the usual channels on courts.ie and through social media by the different jurisdictions and local offices as and when the information becomes available.
For queries relating to Jury Summonses, 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
· general Covid-19 updates
Click for further Notices by Jurisdiction