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Court services during Covid 19

Court Services During Covid-19

Recent changes to each court jurisdictions were introduced to avoid “over concentration of people in the room or place and prevent COVID-19”. These changes affect both practitioners and members of the public.


Below is a summary of the changes implemented:

Video Links

From the third week of April, a pilot scheme will be implemented where court cases are going to be heard remotely using video links as part the legal system’s response to the coronavirus crisis.


The Supreme Court

All matters listed prior to the 3rd April 2020 will be adjourned on consent. The Easter term commences on 20th April 2020 and the position will be reviewed at this stage.

The Court of Appeal

The Court will adjourn on consent any appeal that is listed for hearing prior to 3rd April 2020 to include any call-over lists, lists to fix dates and the directions/management lists. Furthermore, the Court will adjourn any appeal that is not on consent, unless particular urgency can be demonstrated.

High Court

The High Court now has limited sittings to deal with non-criminalcivil business and any case listed prior to the 3rd April 2020 will be adjourned. The position in relation to adjourned dates will be reviewed upon the commencement of the Easter term on 20th April 2020. It will sit to hear matters of habeas corpus, extradition, bail applications, injunctions and their enforcement, wardship matters and urgent judicial review applications.
Bail applications and extradition hearings will be conducted via video link.
It is advisable to continue to check the legal diary on legaldiary.courts.ie for updates on specific court lists.

Circuit Court

In relation to criminal cases, persons on bail need not attend and the case will be remanded in their absence. Accused persons will be informed of the new court date by their solicitor or by the Courts Service if they do not have a solicitor. Custody sentencing cases will be dealt with via video link.
The solicitors of defendants are to inform their clients not attend if on bail. A judge will be available to sit on each circuit to hear urgent applications.

  

Family Law

Family Law lists are adjourned to 20 April. The Circuit Family Law Courts will continue to deal with urgent matters which include:


• New applications for Protection Orders
• New applications for Interim Barring Orders
• Applications for Emergency Barring Orders
• Extension of care orders and interim care orders and emergency care orders and exceptional or urgent interim care orders.
Information about Domestic Violence and Abuse – court orders and support services - is available here
https://beta.courts.ie/domestic-abuse
Please contact the relevant office to make an appointment

 

District Courts

In the District Court, parties with non-urgent cases are no longer required to attend court. The District Court will continue to hear “urgent matters only”.
In certain instances, criminal law, family law (as above) and child care law cases will be considered urgent and appropriate provisions be made.

Public Offices

Members of the public and legal practitioners will not be served at a Court office without an appointment.
The offices of the Superior Courts will relocate their public offices to the Central Office of the High Court. Attendance at the Central Office will be facilitated on an appointment basis for urgent business only. No matters will be set down at this stage and unless urgent, originating documents will not be issued. To secure an appointment in this office, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from 9.00 am on Monday, 30th March 2020, indicating briefly the nature of the business.

Fees

The stamp office in Áras Uí Dhálaigh, Four Courts, Dublin 7 will close from Tuesday 31st March until Tuesday 14th April.
Court Offices outside Dublin will also not be open to make stamp duty payments. Where fees are payable on proceedings that must be issued over the coming days, an undertaking in writing to pay fees signed by the Solicitor will be accepted.

Judgments

In order to minimise the exposure of persons using the courts, the default position until further notice is that all written judgments of courts will be delivered by means of a copy being sent electronically to the parties. A copy will also be posted on the Courts Service website, subject to the usual redactions, as soon as possible.

Exceptions

A case which does not come into the defined urgent category may be treated as urgent if a good case can be made. A party may email the relevant court office and set out reasons why the case should be considered urgent. The other side should be on notice and must be given an opportunity to set out their position.

 

For more information please contact James Sherwin, Partner or Joy Comber, Senior Associate.

 

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