HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) continues to work daily during the COVID-19 Pandemic and has today revealed a new list of priority work for county courts as it tries to keep the justice system going and hearings proceeding during the coronavirus lockdown.
HM Courts & Tribunal Service has split civil court listings into two groups:
- work that must be done and work that could be done.
- Civil work in the Court of Appeal and High Court is subject to separate guidance.
The update comes as the first acknowledgement from the judicial system that some types of work may now have to be delayed and put on the “back-burner”. This is whilst the system gets used to fewer court buildings being open and hearings currently being carried out remotely across the UK via Skype or telephone conferencing. It is hoped that once hearings under category one have been completed it is the intention for the Court to hear as many cases under category number two as possible.
Work that comes under category one includes injunctions which will need to be prioritised. Injunctions are to be dealt with on an urgent basis where necessary whether it be an application for a Non Molestation Order or an Occupation Order with parties attending remotely where possible with orders (where granted) being served by email, text or other electronic means if the Court is satisfied this will bring the order to the attention of the Respondent.
There remains victims that require urgent assistance. With reported domestic abuse cases rising worldwide during the pandemic there is a real risk that the numbers will rise further. Only abusers are responsible for their actions and not COVID-19. The pandemic does threaten to escalate abuse and close down options to safety for victims to escape.
We can help
We have a dedicated team at Ringrose Law able to help and make such applications where necessary during the pandemic. Legal Aid remains available for such applications such to an income assessment.