This is an update to our previous blog on COVID-19 and the UK Court System
Yesterday, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, announced that jury trials are set to commence in selected criminal courts as early as next week. It was less than two months ago, on 23 March 2020, that new jury trials came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to commence new jury trials follows an intensive review by the Jury Trials Working Group and the implementation of special arrangements to “maintain the safety of all participants and jury in line with Public Health England and Public Health Wales guidelines”. In a similar vein, jury trials that have been adjourned during this period may also be resumed where they can be conducted safely.
From next week (commencing 18 May) it is expected that new juries will be sworn in at the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey (London) and Cardiff Crown Court (amongst others). Following this, the number of jury trials taking place in other criminal courts is set to increase once it is safe to do so. Contrary to some press publications, the Lord Chief Justice has also confirmed that such trials will continue to be conducted with twelve jurors, not seven.
The special court arrangements, which allow for adequate distancing, are said to include the use of multiple courtrooms for individual trials, careful supervision of entrances and exits and enhanced cleaning measures.
Gherson are continuing to monitor the announcements of the Lord Chief Justice and advise that any participants in jury trials should keep abreast of current procedures with the relevant court.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
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