With the move to step 4 of the government's COVID-19 roadmap on 19 July 2021, HMCTS has updated its pandemic guidance, available here. In short, courts and tribunals in England are open for face-to-face hearings but it's not entirely business as usual:
- Court users are required to wear face masks in public and communal parts of the estate's buildings;
- Screens and barriers aren't yet a thing of the past;
- HMCTS is assessing the estate to ensure adequate ventilation;
- Court users are encouraged to take a lateral flow COVID-19 test before going to a court or tribunal, and (obviously) must not attend if they test positive, are self-isolating, or quarantining on return from overseas travel; and
- HMCTS will continue to use remote hearings, and for each hearing will specify on the hearing notice whether it is taking place in-person or remotely.
As announced on the Inside HMCTS blog on 15 July 2021, there is an online panel discussion for legal professionals on Tuesday 27 July 2021 that can be accessed here where HMCTS' response to the government's announcement will be further discussed.