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Covid-19 and Court hearings – Bristol
In recent talks with the court in Bristol some new information has been provided as to what to expect in relation to hearings in the family court moving forwards which we wanted to share with you.
- Remote hearings by telephone and video will be continuing into the future and very likely to stay in a post COVID world.
- The need to attend a hearing in person will be decided by a Judge on a case by case basis. However attended hearings in the Family Court are likely to be few and far between for the foreseeable future.
- In preparation for attended hearings, risk assessments have been completed for Bristol and Taunton courts and is in progress for other courts in the area. The Court Service is also considering commissioning other buildings to provide additional space for hearings provided that risks can be safely managed such as hotels, Universities and Council Offices.
- Bristol Civil Justice Centre has now opened and will be gradually increasing the amount of court rooms open, to a maximum of 8 in July.
- If you are required to attend Bristol Civil Justice Centre for a hearing safeguarding measures have been put in place. These include but are not limited to the following.
- There will be one way systems and 2-meter distance measures in place inside and outside the court.
- One security point will be in use with security staff using PPE and following social distancing guidelines with the use of wands if needed.
- You are asked to please bring as little to Court as possible. Contents of bags will need to be emptied into red boxes to be checked and the boxes will then be cleaned.
- Chairs will be taped off in order to maintain social distancing.
- You will be required to use the stairs where possible.
- The lift will operate as “one in and one out”. Family groups will be permitted to go in together.
- Toilets will also be “one in one out”
- No water will be provided at all so you are required to bring your own drinks
- During hearings the Judges will provide frequent breaks for hand-washing.
- The court will be cleaned every evening and touch-points be will cleaned at 2 hour intervals throughout the day.
- All conference rooms will be limited with regards to the amount of people they can have in them at any one time.
- Staff have been provided with masks. Permission for the advocates and parties to wear masks during hearings will be a matter for the Judge to decide in each case.
- Electronic devices will be available for ebundles to be viewable by witnesses.
- If you have concerns about attending hearings due to any vulnerabilities, we can contact the Court in order that the Judge dealing with the hearing can make a decision as to how to proceed.
Please reach out to your solicitor if you have any further questions and we will do our best to help you. WSP are still here to make your life, less complicated. You can get in contact via the form in the sidebar of this page or by calling us on 01453847200