Lawyers brace for impact of Level 5 restrictions on courts

Business in the Irish courts is likely to be disrupted for six weeks as Ireland moves to Level 5 of the Framework for Living with Covid-19.

The Courts Service yesterday set out its broad plans for court business under Level 5 and is expected to issue a further statement later today.

Jury trials in the High Court and the Central Criminal Court which are currently at hearing will continue where possible, but no new juries will be sworn in.

In the Circuit Court, non-urgent civil business will be adjourned so that resources can be deployed to support urgent matters, family law and essential criminal business. No new criminal trials will commence and every effort will be made to finish existing trials.

Similarly, in the District Court, non-urgent civil business will be adjourned so that resources can be deployed to support family law, child care law and essential criminal business.

Family lawyer Keith Walsh told Irish Legal News: “The general announcement by the Courts Service last night that family law and criminal cases will be prioritised in the Circuit and District Courts along with child care and domestic violence is good news for families and the criminal justice system.

“It is less good news for those with a civil claim as these cases will be adjourned unless they are urgent. More specific and detailed announcements in relation to each Court are expected today and tomorrow.”

He added: “It would be good to see more emphasis on keeping cases moving where resources allow by permitting email adjournments in all courts on consent, facilitating remote hearings where appropriate particularly for interim motions where no evidence required and the return of virtual consent judicial separation and divorce cases.

“It would be helpful to separate out the County Registrars Courts from the Circuit Court as this court handles a significant caseload especially in Dublin, it is still overseen by the President of the Circuit Court.”

Tags: Coronavirus

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