Courts and Tribunals Weekly Operational Update - Coronavirus: week commencing Monday 8 March 2021

HMCTS weekly operational update during coronavirus outbreak

HMCTS operational summary for week commencing Monday 8 March 2021

Next week’s update will be issued on Friday 12 March 2021.

  • Updated: We have opened a Nightingale Court at Birmingham Maple House, which provides 4 additional courtrooms for Crown, Civil and Family work. We have also opened a Nightingale Court in Barbican, London, which provides 2 additional courtrooms for Crown Court work.
  • Jurors must wear fluid resistant surgical masks, provided by the court, in smaller deliberation rooms (that operate with 1m distancing plus mitigations like screens). We have amended our organisational risk assessment accordingly, following updated public health advice
  • To try to keep the number of people attending courts and tribunals in person to a minimum, we’re encouraging those involved in the legal process to only bring one bring one person with them if they feel they need support – such as a friend or family member.
  • Our court and tribunal finder service is the authoritative source for the operational status of all our buildings. Please check before travelling to any court or tribunal building.
  • We encourage all court and tribunals users to take part in any Community Testing Programme that is available locally. You can check your local authority website to find out more. In locations where new virus variants have been found the government strongly advises you to take a COVID test, whether you are showing symptoms or not.
  • Reminder: We review and update our COVID risk assessments each week and apply any changes needed. You can ask for a copy from your local court. If you have any questions about how the risk assessment meets government guidance or how it’s being followed, you can raise your concerns following our escalation process. Escalation routes for professional users (PDF, 266KB, 3 pages)
  • Reminder: Court and tribunal users must continue to wear a face covering in all public and communal parts of our buildings. This includes robing rooms. 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). Guidance has also been published to help stop the spread of COVID-19.


  • Updated: The Common Platform digital case management system is now live in Guildford Crown and Magistrates’ Courts, and Staines Magistrates’ Court. The next courts to go live with the system will be: North Staffordshire Justice Centre, Cannock Magistrates’ Court, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Stafford Crown Court, Warrington Magistrates’ Court and Chester Crown Court. Defence solicitors and barristers who work in these courts need to register now for Common Platform accounts. Watch our webinar to find out more about the system.
  • Magistrates’ courts are facilitating the remote attendance of those involved in proceedings where the court has directed, and is able to facilitate, this. The safe operation of courts remains paramount so listing volumes are being adjusted to reduce the number of people coming to court, in line with the Lord Chief Justice’s recent statement. Updated guidance has been issued to those still required to attend in person.
  • The Crown Court is hearing all types of applications and cases, including multi-hander trials. Where appropriate, judges continue to deal with a range of work remotely, including sentencing hearings.
  • The judiciary has published a note of listing in magistrates’ courts during coronavirus outbreak.


  • Family courts continue to prioritise work as agreed with the President of the Family Division. Work levels are slowly returning to pre-COVID levels and we are working hard to return this to 100%, in a COVID-safe way.



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