Courts and Tribunals Weekly Operational Update - Coronavirus: week commencing Monday 12 April 2021

HMCTS weekly operational update during coronavirus outbreak

HMCTS operational summary for week commencing Monday 12 April 2021

Next week’s update will be issued on Friday 16 April 2021.

  • Updated: Following the announcement of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday 17 April 2021, we have reviewed the arrangements for Saturday hearings in magistrates’ courts. We have put plans in place (subject to any urgent court business on the day) for them to be completed ahead of the funeral so far as it is possible. The Lord Chief Justice invites everyone who is in court on Saturday at 3pm to observe the national one minute silence, which will be held at the start of the funeral ceremony.
  • Updated: We are opening a new Nightingale Court in Preston, which will provide additional non-custodial crown capacity and reduce delays in the North West. Last week we opened a Nightingale Court in Chichester providing 2 additional courtrooms for Lewes Crown Court. A full list of all Nightingale Courts can be found on GOV.UK.
  • Updated: We encourage all court users to access testing available to them and we have testing pilots at various court and tribunal sites. In England you will be able to order home-testing kits online via the new government scheme from 9 April. Or you may be able to get a rapid test from an NHS site. The best way to find a location is to use the NHS COVID-19 Test and Vaccination Site Finder.
  • Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks (FRSMs) are to be supplied to professional users providing legal consultation in custody suites. This is in addition to the existing safety measures already in place. FRSMs will be issued by staff on entry to court custody suites. Our guidance outlines the use of FRSMs and existing safety measures. Wearing of Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks in custody suites (PDF, 170KB, 3 pages) Professional users should also familiarise themselves with this guidance on how to wear and remove face coverings. How to wear and remove your face covering or mask (PDF, 166KB, 1 page)
  • 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.


  • Common Platform is the new digital case management system for HMCTS, the judiciary, and professional court users. By the end of April 2021, it is scheduled to go live in selected courts in the Midlands, Wales, the north-west, the north-east and the south-west. We are contacting the defence firms and chambers working with these courts and asking them to register their legal practitioners now for user accounts.
  • Following the Lord Chief Justice’s message on recovery (17 March 2021), court lists in magistrates’ courts will be adjusted for those involved in proceedings to attend in person where the court has directed this, in the interests of justice and where it is safe to do so. The safe operation of the courts continues to be our primary consideration and remote hearings still play an integral part in managing footfall in our buildings safely.
  • 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.


  • 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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