Further to the Government’s announcement yesterday afternoon a joint update has issued extending the current Courts Service Level 5 protocols for the remainder of January and for the month of February. The below message will be posted to the website this afternoon at Covid-19 Response Updates .
Covid-19 Level 5 Update
Courts Service extend Covid-19 Level 5 protocols announced at start of legal term for the month of February 2021
Wednesday 27 January 2021; Following the Government announcement extending current Level 5 restrictions, the Courts Service and the Judiciary have agreed to continue current enhanced Covid-19 Level 5 protocols for the remainder of January and the month of February 2021. The Courts Service and Judiciary continue to review the evolving situation with the pandemic, taking into consideration Government and public health advices, and will reassess the current position on 23 February 2021.
This means that criminal trials due to commence in the Central and Circuit Courts will not start during the month of February 2021. Priority will continue to be given to urgent matters such as domestic violence applications.
In general, across the various Courts, the work that has been conducted remotely will continue, with further technical solutions and remote capabilities being extended to more Courts nationwide. Additionally, in the High Court, President Irvine has directed from Tuesday 2nd February 2021 the High Court will be in a position to list a number of personal injuries cases, each day, to be heard remotely. The High Court Notice which issued last week provides further information and is available here.
In the Dublin District Court civil business in certain circumstances, will take place remotely, following a Practice Direction issued yesterday by the President of the District Court. The Practice Direction available here also includes changes to other types of civil business such as Consent Orders and Consent Adjournments which can be submitted to Court offices for referral to the presiding Judge. The Judge will determine the matter in accordance with law and all parties will be notified.
The Courts Services and the Judiciary continue to identify ways to further reduce footfall to courts to ensure safe access to justice for all court users during the pandemic. Notices and Practice Directions from the respective Presidents that issued earlier this month confirming how business will be conducted in the Superior, and District Courts should now be considered to apply for the month of February 2021 and are available on www.courts.ie. Orders for the Circuit Court are issuing this week, also available on www.courts.ie. Every effort is being made to conduct as much business as is safely possible, in accordance with the Courts Service robust Covid-19 safety management programme. However, given the evolving situation, court business may, with regret, need to be cancelled at short notice.
The Government continue to recommend working from home and where possible Courts Service staff should do so. Court offices accept documents by post, and some have deployed DX and drop box facilities and e-filing solutions to reduce the numbers coming to Court offices. Attendance at offices is on an appointment only basis at this time. For more information please contact the relevant office directly.
A person attending a court or court office to conduct legal or court business, continues to be recognised by Government as travelling for essential services under Level 5 restrictions and can travel beyond 5km for that purpose. It is important that all Court Users 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, are a close contact of a person who tested positive for Covid-19, have been directed to restrict your movement or are awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test, you should not to attend court.
Further Information/ Updates
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