Coronavirus (COVID-19)—HMCTS sets out next steps for Crown Court recovery

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—HMCTS sets out next steps for Crown Court recovery

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has outlined the next steps for recovery in the Crown Courts following coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures. HMCTS is working to increase jury trial capacity and expects to have 100 courtrooms available for jury trials by the end of August 2020. To comply with social distancing requirements, HMCTS is overseeing the installation of Plexiglass screens and Portakabins in around 250 courts and retiring rooms. Alongside this, HMCTS is trialling a new approach to opening hours, which involves a minimum of two court rooms operating jury trials in the same court centre—one courtroom will operate two lists covering morning and afternoon trials from Monday to Friday, and the other will operate a ‘standard hours’ court to ensure that if, for any reason, a case is unsuitable for the earlier or later session court, it can still be listed in the usual way.

As part of the recovery, HMCTS will be extending its section 28 support scheme to 16 additional Crown Courts, taking into account the fact that some courtrooms have been reconfigured to meet coronavirus safety requirements. The scheme allows vulnerable victims and witnesses to pre-record evidence sessions to be played during the trial.

Read more about trial operating hours here and protecting vulnerable victims here.

Source: Next steps towards recovery in the Crown Court

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