Criminal courts only handling ‘urgent work’ due to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 11:41 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:41 26 March 2020

Ipswich Crown Court  Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Criminal courts have resorted to handling only urgent work as the nation continues to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said that both crown and magistrates’ courts were only covering urgent work, including overnight custody cases and hearings involving defendants produced from prisons.

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An operational summary said jury trials already underway before ‘stay at home rules’ came into force would continue, but that there would be no new jury trials until further notice.

Physical hearings will be avoided where possible, but social distancing measures have been introduced in courts where physical attendance is necessary

Remote hearings are being arranged wherever possible, with work being prioritised in order to deliver essential services over coming weeks

HMCTS said the situation may change quickly and would continue to be updated.

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