Courts & Tribunals Updated Local Restrictions as at 21/12/20

21st December 2020

Further to the Prime Minister’s Tier 4 announcement on Saturday 19 December 2020 and the local restriction tiers in England, the current rules in Wales and local protection levels in Scotland – courts and tribunals continue to operate within COVID-secure guidelines. As an essential public service, the work of the courts and tribunals continues and there are currently no plans to change scheduled hearings.

Those involved in keeping the justice system running or fulfilling a legal obligation can attend court and travel when required. We are following public health advice and are experienced in managing COVID-secure ways of working with a range of mitigating measures in place.

I don’t underestimate the impact of the latest restrictions on you personally and can only share with you my disappointment that many of us will be apart from friends and family over Christmas and the New Year. I also wanted to take the opportunity to thank you once more for your continued hard work and determination to support us in keeping the justice system running throughout the challenges that 2020 has presented us with.

The courts and tribunals are an essential public service and all those who work in them – HMCTS staff, judges, magistrates, legal professionals, our partners and parties involved in hearings, including jurors – are essential to running the justice system. As such, we will keep our courts and tribunals running as planned over Christmas and the New Year and as we have done throughout every iteration of coronavirus restrictions. The judiciary fully support this approach.

Our preparedness and our resolve to safely continue in our essential work remains steadfast. We’re making the biggest single investment in court estate maintenance for more than 20 years and spending an additional £110m on a range of emergency measures to tackle the impact of COVID-19, including the recruitment of 1,600 additional staff.

  • All our buildings are COVID-secure. We have risk assessments in place, which are regularly updated and available for you and court users to see.
  • We will continue to follow the expert advice of public health agencies. Always.
  • We have extra cleaning arrangements in place and have re-organised how we use our buildings to allow for social distancing, one-way systems and reduced footfall.
  • We have created extra space through portacabins and Nightingale courts, and we’ve installed plexiglass to help. As we add capacity there will be more.

We have learned a lot throughout different periods of restrictions and, with thanks for your ongoing support, are in a strong position to respond to the challenges that now face the country.

Please do share this information with your teams, colleagues and members as you wish, and thank you, once again, for your continued help and support in updating those who use and work in the justice system.

To find out what tier your local area is in, including what you can and cannot do in each tier, use the postcode checker on GOV.UK

Rob Hack

Head of External Stakeholder Communications

Communications Team | HMCTS | 6.23 | 102 Petty France | London | SW1H 9AJ

Phone: 07870 163094