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Coronavirus: It’s ‘business as usual’, says Supreme Court

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9

Building remains open to the public and cases will continue

It’s “business as usual” in the Supreme Court amid growing concerns of the coronavirus.

“The Supreme Court is currently operating as business as usual but we are constantly reviewing plans and they are, of course, subject to change,” a statement by the UK’s top court read yesterday.

It continued:

“As things stand, the building remains open to the public and the Court cases will continue. We will update the public via our website and social media channels if this situation changes.”

The update follows new social distancing measures, announced by Boris Johnson in yesterday’s daily briefing. The Prime Minister urged the public to avoid “non-essential” contact and work from home where possible to curb the spread of the virus.

In response to the briefing, Chris Philp, justice secretary, confirmed the “courts will be operating normally” and “justice will continue”.

Every Briton over the age of 70 will be told “within the coming weeks” to stay at home for an extended period to protect themselves from the risk of contracting coronavirus, health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed over the weekend.

In fresh guidance issued on Friday, HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) said the business of our courts and tribunals will continue during the current phase of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our buildings are cleaned every day and we’ll also respond swiftly to complaints about poor hygiene,” the advice makes clear, adding that “given the importance of handwashing at the moment, our cleaners will give extra attention to checking bathrooms and handwashing facilities.”

HMCTS also recently relaxed its security policy to allow people to bring hand sanitiser into courts and tribunals, with security officers asking court users to use it to prove it’s not harmful.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

In light of the coronavirus pandemic some barristers have taken to Twitter to shed light on the state of toilets in the justice system.

Lucy Reed, family barrister at St John’s Chambers, divulged details of the ladies’ at Barnet County Court:

Anonymous bar blogger The Secret Barrister shared an account of a court they were at recently:

Meanwhile, Plymouth Crown and County courts complex had to be deep cleaned after a defendant turned up to trial with flu-like symptoms, the Plymouth Herald reported on Tuesday.


Update: 11:50am

The Supreme Court announced this morning it has decided to implement a number of temporary restrictions relating to visitor access. You can read the statement in full here.

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9 Comments

Jez

Insane.

But their arrogance might clear out the top level of the UKSC ho ho

(9)(2)

I’ve never been cleaner

Dirty Justice strikes again. ‘I’’m clean your honour’

(0)(0)

WigWearer

Perhaps the most useless piece of professional assistance the Bar Council has produced for a long time:

“Our analysis suggests that there are circumstances under which a barrister should be able to respond to any need for isolation without breaching the Handbook. Each barrister, however, must take responsibility for assessing their own ethical position, based on the facts, considering government advice and taking a risk-based approach…
Whilst any decision by the independent regulator, the BSB, would be based upon the specific circumstances of the matter in hand, the Bar Council’s initial view is that there would be no cause for disciplinary action if there has not been a breach of the Handbook.”

Basically “you might be disciplined, you might not, we are not really going to say anything substantive and you can all just decide for yourselves.” The use of the word “suggests” implies one might even be at risk for doing exactly what the government has told us to do.

(11)(0)
(0)(0)

Anonymous

I don’t count a link to the Handbook as clarification!

(0)(0)

MARKYMARK

The is good news. Covid19 is just a cold. FFS

(1)(7)

Anonymous

This is misleading and irresponsible.

(4)(0)

RESPOSNE

The Flu has killed 30,000 worldwide between october 2019 and feb 2020. In comparison Covid19 has killed around 5000 globally. The fact of the matter is that the Flu kills far more people. It’s infection rate is far higher. Covid19 is media hype nothing else.

(1)(0)

Barrister SE Circuit

The below is what I/we have had to deal with just this week;

a) Inability to contact the court and request an adjournment the day prior to trial: We had to adjourn in person due to an illness on the other side. My clients involved a teacher/NHS nurse and Lecturer, all of whom are vital individuals. If there was notice, the court should respond quickly and efficiently.
b) Court Listings: Over listing of judges. A matter that is now the norm, but attendance not to be heard is rather compounded by the health risk we are taking, all to be sent home packing because DJ X simply cannot listen to two cases at once. I have seen some rather deflated judges this week.
c) Confusing Messages: What are we doing as a collective? we look to the chairs/heads of our profession – it’s not that they are not on the same page – they are reading completely different books.

I note that we are not considered Key Workers and that courts are without mention in any of the speeches given by governmental officials. We are seemingly forgotten, and our goodwill to show up, defend our clients interests until our very last word, is rather taken advantage of. However, we press on, as our commitment to justice will always be relentless and unwavering.

(0)(0)

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