The body that operates the courts in England and Wales has raised the possibility of asking judges for proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
According to the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales, HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) said that this would happen, if vaccine passports could be used “proportionately and lawfully”.
The Gazette reports, however, that HMCTS appeared this week to rule out asking court users, such as jurors, to provide their vaccine status.
“The purposes for which people come into our buildings... means it is far harder for us to set up a vaccination passport regime than it would be for a nightclub, where people are voluntarily wanting to go in, and will willingly demonstrate vaccine status,” the body told a webinar on court safety.
Responding to a question from the Law Society of England and Wales, however, deputy director Craig Robb said that vaccination was “one of the key weapons in the armoury against transmission, so if it can be used – and it can be used proportionately and lawfully – than of course it would be”.
According to the Gazette, Robb gave the example of a bench of three judicial office holders, sitting together without screens. “Theoretically you could use vaccination status there,” he said.
HMCTS has stressed that it is reopening the courts “in a steady, careful way” and that face coverings will still be required in staff, public and communal parts of court buildings. Screens and barriers will also remain in place.