The Courts Service has said that keeping courts open to provide safe access to justice remains a key priority but has asked legal practitioners for enhanced co-operation and personal responsibility in relation to safety measures.
The body has reviewed the Level 4 measures for Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan and said that courts in those areas will continue to stay open with protective public health measures in place, to support the safety of all staff and court users.
All court users are expected to support the continued safe operation of the courts by adhering to the protective public health measures in place.
Staff and members of the public are reminded that accessing justice is an essential service so travel is permitted.
Alternative methods to public transport, where possible, are encouraged.
Where working from home is possible, staff continue to do so. Only those who have business in court should attend.
If changes to court sittings or lists are required, that information will be available on the news feed at http://www.courts.ie/ and @CourtsServiceIE on Twitter.
The courts will only be able to stay open as long as safety is a priority for all, the Courts Service says.
Court users, at this critical stage in the pandemic, should be supporting the practice of public health measures:
- Maintaining a two-metre distance,
- Wearing a face mask at all times in court buildings,
- Good hand and respiratory hygiene at all times,
- Not attending court if you have symptoms associated with Covid-19 or having been directed to restrict your movements.
In accordance with the COVID-19 safety management programme, risk assessments have been conducted at each court buildings to establish how many people can be safely accommodated.
A number of protective measures have been put in place to create a safe environment for court users. Compliance checks with these measures are conducted on a regular basis, up to three times daily in some cases
Practitioners have been asked for their enhanced co-operation with public health guidance measures at courthouses.
The Courts Service has asked that they should take personal responsibility to practice and support public health measures, specifically physical distancing, wearing face masks, not congregating in groups, adhering strictly to allocated listing slots and complying with direction from staff in relation to numbers management in court buildings.
Where court buildings are not safe, it will not be possible for the Courts Service to continue to provide services.