The safety of all those working within and using the justice system is paramount – said the Law Society of England and Wales as Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to place restrictions on the number of courts allowed to open to the public during the coronavirus crisis were revealed.
“Balancing safety with the need to keep the wheels of justice turning is incredibly difficult,” said Law Society President Simon Davis.
“We recognise that it is impossible for HMCTS to maintain a full complement of courts open to the public at this time; in some courts it is challenging to ensure that people can maintain social distancing. This was already posing health risks that have been of serious concern to the legal professionals trying to help the public in need.
“In these difficult circumstances, holding hearings that require physical attendance in a reduced number of courts, and ensuring full safety measures in those courts, is a logical approach.
“Local, accessible justice is however is vital to our society. We will continue to work closely with the MoJ and HMCTS to keep those courts which remain open running effectively – using technology wherever possible.
“It will also be key for the courts to be re-opened fully once the crisis is over, to avoid any long term restrictions on the public’s access to justice.”