All jury trials for the next three months have been pushed back, but other trials and some cases will go ahead in the Royal Court with everyone present observing social distancing advice.
The Royal Court has today announced that any trials to be heard before a jury made up of members of the public due to take place between now and June will be postponed.
Any jury trial dates between now and 30 June this year will be re-listed for a trial later in the year. The Bailiff’s Chambers have confirmed that if a defendant is awaiting trial in custody, the Court will consider the terms of their remand at a short hearing to re-fix dates or during a bail application.
Other trials heard before one Judge and two Jurats will continue to go ahead as planned, whilst observing social distancing advice.
Pictured: Jurat trials will carry on, observing the social distancing advice.
The Royal Court will also continue to determine cases involving children and other urgent civil cases, but where possible the lawyers can address the Court by telephone or video link.
For trials or civil cases which have to be held in person, hearings will only take place in the building’s largest courtroom or the States Chamber to allow for the ability to social distance. Thanks to emergency measures agreed by the Assembly this week, evidence from certain witnesses can be given by video link or agreed in other ways.
The public gallery for any cases is closed, but the outcomes of hearings will be published on the Jersey Legal Information Board website and the local media can still attend criminal cases and, where appropriate, civil matters.
Of this, the Bailiff’s Chambers said: “The island is fortunate to have available two such larges spaces which can accommodate litigants under conditions that make it relatively easy to ensure social distancing.”
Family matters will only be heard by video or telephone conferencing and when this is not possible, the matter will be adjourned to a later date.
Pictured: Court users will be encouraged to attend hearings remotely.
The Chambers said: “Every effort is being made by the Court to be flexible in its procedures to ensure that important family matters are heard as soon as possible. This includes relaxing strict rules for the execution of documents and the swearing of oaths where the applicant is unable to attend with their lawyer due to the present restrictions in place and the Court receiving electronic versions of document in proceedings.”
The Employment and Discrimination Tribunal – which resolves all disputes between employers and employees – will continue to receive and process applications, but no personal attendance is permitted at future hearings until further notice.
Generally, all final hearings due at the Tribunal before the end of May will be adjourned. Other case management matters or interim hearings will be held by video or telephone conference.
Due to the sensitivity and implication of the orders being made, the Mental Health Review Tribunal continue to hear applications. Arrangements to allow for applicants and their representatives to be appear remotely are being finalised.
The Bailiff’s Chambers have committed to updating all Court users of any further changes in the coming weeks and lawyers will be issued with specific guidance relating to this and other matters next week.
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