The High Court is to make adjustments to its programme of work for the Trinity term, due to the Government’s proposals to ease COVID-19 restrictions over the coming weeks.
The changes, which have been agreed with the Courts Service, will come into effect from 28 June, according to a notice from the President of the High Court, Mary Irvine (pictured), published on the Courts Service website.
Resumption of physical hearings
They allow for the potential resumption of physical hearings in some non-urgent cases.
The changes will apply to four categories of work:
- Personal injuries actions in Dublin,
- Personal injuries actions at the following provincial venues: Galway (28 June to 9 July) and Cork (12-23 July),
- Circuit Appeals at Galway (12-16 July), Castlebar (19-23 July), Letterkenny (26-30 July) and Dundalk (26-30 July),
- Cork non-jury actions (28 June to 9 July).
Lists for each day in these categories will be called over remotely.
Remote hearings preferred
The High Court president says that, while parties are “strongly encouraged” to opt for a remote hearing, physical hearings of non-urgent cases may resume. Witnesses, however, should be kept to a minimum and should attend the courtroom only when their presence is required.
The notice also says that pre-trial consultations and negotiations should be held well in advance of the proposed hearing date to ensure that they can be carried out safely and in a socially distanced manner.
“Parties and their legal representatives shall only enter the premises in which the court is located when the case is due to start, and all efforts at negotiation have failed,” the notice says, adding that no further time will be allowed for negotiation at that point.
It warns that the plans could be altered if the public-health guidance changes.