Courts and Tribunals Weekly Operational Update - Coronavirus: week commencing Monday 26 October 2020

HMCTS weekly operational update during coronavirus outbreak

HMCTS weekly operational update: Week commencing Monday 26 October 2020

Next week’s update will be issued on Friday 30 October 2020.

  • Reminder: We’re continuing to ask that court and tribunal users wear a face covering in all public and communal parts of our buildings in England, Wales and now Scotland. This is in line with Government advice on face coverings (England), Face coverings: guidance for public (Wales) and COVID-19 stage 3: staying safe and protecting others (Scotland).
  • Reminder: Further to announcements on regions in local COVID Alert Levels in England, the national fire-break in Wales and restrictions in Scotland, courts and tribunals will 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. We are following public health advice and are experienced in managing COVID-secure ways of working with a range of mitigating measures in place.
  • You should not come to any of our court and tribunal buildings if you have coronavirus symptoms, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if you have been instructed by the NHS to self-isolate. Please contact the court or tribunal before you are due to attend so that suitable arrangements can be made for your hearing. Read our guidance about coming to court during the pandemic. While public health legislation allows those involved in legal proceedings to come out of self-isolation when necessary, you must consult with the court or tribunal first who will consider and decide on appropriate arrangements.
  • We’ve introduced the NHS Test and Trace QR codes within our buildings, with posters being displayed in prominent locations in all of our sites. Although it’s an entirely voluntary system, we’re encouraging all court and tribunal users to scan the QR code via the NHS COVID-19 app to ‘check in’ when they attend a court or tribunal building. HMCTS employees and members of the judiciary do not need to scan the NHS QR code, as we already maintain their records and contact details to notify them if needed.
  • Updated: We’ve published details of over 75 additional courts and tribunals due to offer faster access for registered members of the professional users’ access scheme from Tuesday 27 October.
  • Updated: We will be opening new Nightingale Courts in Liverpool and Winchester in the week commencing 26 October. This week we opened 2 Nightingale Courts in Bristol and Chester, bringing the total number of Nightingale Courts currently open to 14.
  • Our Courts and Tribunals Service Centres are available from 8am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 4pm on Fridays until further notice. Courts and Tribunals Service Centre - advice on contacting HMCTS during coronavirus (PDF, 218KB, 5 pages).
  • Welsh Language services available during the coronavirus outbreak. Welsh language services update (PDF, 134KB, 1 page).


  • Jury trials have now resumed in 77 Crown Courts and are running in 5 Nightingale Courts and 2 other existing court locations.
  • Updated: Crown Courts due to restart jury trials in November 2020 (dates to be confirmed) – Doncaster Justice Centre South (Doncaster Crown Court), satellite of Sheffield, and King’s Lynn Crown Court.
  • Updated: We have installed plexiglass screens in 212 court rooms and 135 jury deliberation rooms so far. Further installations are being planned for October/November 2020.
  • Updated: We are installing new Portakabin® buildings to provide temporary rooms for jury deliberations. We have installed Portakabin® buildings so far at 6 court locations - Bradford, Grimsby, Hull, Leeds, Preston and Teesside.
  • Crown Courts continue to deal with a range of work remotely, including sentencing hearings and all urgent applications including applications for bail and applications to extend custody time limits. Pre-trial preparation hearings and further case management hearings are also taking place.
  • Magistrates’ courts are now dealing with most business type hearings. Since August 2020, magistrates’ courts have been completing more cases than have been received and the number of sittings are almost at pre-covid levels. We are working hard to return this to 100%, in a COVID-safe way.
  • The judiciary has published a note of listing in magistrates’ courts during coronavirus outbreak.
  • Common Platform is our new, digital case management system, now beginning rollout to a series of early adopter courts. As each court goes live with Common Platform, defence solicitors and barristers will need to register for accounts before any hearings they attend. This will allow on-the-day check-in, self-serving access to case material, and linking to a case/defendant for payment purposes for the Legal Aid Agency.
  • All questions about paying an outstanding criminal court fine should be sent to our National Compliance and Enforcement Service at or call 0300 123 9252.




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