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Dublin: 20 °C Monday 1 June, 2020

Covid-19: Irish courts to only hear 'urgent cases' in the coming weeks

The decision was made to avoid the “over concentration of people in one room or place”.

Image: Shutterstock/Krzysztof Skalny

THE COURT SERVICE has said that only urgent cases, or cases not involving witnesses, will go ahead in the coming weeks in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“This will free up judges to hear the cases which need to go ahead, in much emptier courtrooms across our estate,” the courts service said.

The changes brought in today follow updated advice from the HSE, Chief Justice and presidents of each court jurisdiction.

They’re being made to avoid the “over concentration of people in one room or place” and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, these courts will adjourn on consent any appeal that is listed between now and 3 April. 

The High Court will have limited sittings to deal with non-criminal business. 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.

In the Circuit Court, ongoing trials will continue to their conclusion but no new jury trials will commence. Custody sentencing cases will be dealt with as usual or via video link.

The solicitors of defendants are to inform their clients that not attend if on bail. A judge will be available to sit on each circuit to hear urgent applications.

Family Law lists will be adjourned to 20 April. The Circuit Family Law Courts will, on a temporary basis, accept consent adjournment applications by email where both parties email independently. The same will apply on circuit civil law 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 and child care law cases will be considered urgent and appropriate provisions be made. 

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Sean Murray

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