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Courts introduce 'unprecedented' measures to better adhere to social distancing rules

The Courts Service said that the measures aim to “promote health, yet maintain rights.”

THE COURTS SERVICE has introduced a range of measures, including relaxing bail requirements and increasing the use of video link, in a bid to improve adherence to social distancing rules.

For cases before the Central Criminal Court there will be no requirement for people on bail to attend the court and anyone in custody will be dealt with via video link.

Solicitors for clients who are on bail may continue to attend if they wish, but solicitors for clients in custody are still advised to attend the court.

Solicitors will also be notified about trial dates via email and each case will be dealt with seperately, one at a time, in the courtroom.

The High Court hearing bail applications and the Cloverhill District Court have increased the volume of video links to Cloverhill Prison, and across the prison and court systems.

Both Courts have altered how they work to better suit the video link system and lessen the pressure on Cloverhill Prison staff.

In a move the Courts Service described as “unprecedented” the High Court bail list has agreed to see a maximum of eight cases per hour and to stick strictly to the order of the list.

It has also added voice-only equipment to the Cloverhill video link area to manage the increased volume of calls from legal representatives. Similar measures have also been brought in at the District Court in Cloverhill.

“These elements make the throughput of prisoners manageable and predictable for the Prisons, and limit numbers in court at anyone time,” the Courts Service said in a statement.

It added that the measures aim to “promote health, yet maintain rights.”

The measures come after legal professionals expressed concern about overcrowding at the Criminal Courts of Justice earlier this week.

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