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In this unprecedented situation, the Lord Chief Justice has issued guidance on both 17 March and 20 March 2020. The Courts will continue to function as normally as possible whilst, at the same time, seeking to reduce the number of individuals required to attend Courts. Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 23 March 2020 no members of the profession or the public are permitted to attend Court unless it is in relation to an emergency application.
The Lord Chief Justice has encouraged that more cases are undertaken remotely either by email, telephone, video or skype. Generally, all ongoing business will be dealt with in accordance with the directions given by each presiding Judge of the Court tier. Emergency applications are still being considered by the Court and are being dealt with on a case by case basis.
Guidance has been issued by a number of Judges, to include the Commercial Judge, Chancery Judge and the Masters’ Courts. All Reviews within the coming weeks are being re-scheduled. It is likely that these will be adjourned for a period of 8 weeks. The Court is in the process of contacting the solicitors and related parties. Thereafter, all Reviews will be dealt with by email requests. Various forms have been produced by each Division where legal representatives will have to summarise the issues at hand and seek Directions from the Judge accordingly. This guidance can be found at www.judiciaryni.uk/coronavirus-covid-19.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Should you wish to discuss any aspect of your case please make contact with your lead contact who will be happy to discuss matters further with you.