A message from HMCTS cluster managers:
As you know, we have previously been notifying you when we become aware of a positive test for COVID-19 by someone who has been in our buildings. You will also not doubt be aware of the mass COVID-19 testing programme that is underway in Liverpool, open to all who live or work in the city:
This is the first such testing programme and so the operational impact is as yet unknown to us; but we anticipate we may see a larger number of positive tests within all of our teams or colleagues as result. This may, in turn, impact on court and tribunal proceedings. We are conscious that if there is an increase in people notifying us they have tested positive having recently been in our buildings, this could make the individual notice procedure unwieldy for recipients as well as us as the sender. We are therefore proposing to send a single daily update, towards the end of each working day and including nil returns, to summarise the position and advise of action taken, and include any operational impacts if they arise. The actions we take to keep the courthouses safe won’t change – we will continue to follow our procedures and identify any close contacts, isolate and clean any relevant areas as required and maintain all other Covid-safe measures we have in place. The only change would be a collective rather than individual written update on positive cases.
Court and tribunal users – including legal professionals, the parties, jurors, witnesses, judges, magistrates and court staff – are vital to the continued running of the courts and tribunals in this period of renewed significant restrictions and mass testing in the city. Hearings will continue, making use of remote technology where judges feel this is appropriate, but you should not come to any of our court and tribunal buildings if you have coronavirus symptoms, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if you must self-isolate. Court and tribunal users should contact us before they are due to attend so that suitable arrangements can be made for their hearing.
It is essential that all court and tribunal users, including our staff, follow the hands-space-face guidance without fail and remind each other of its importance at every turn. I’d be very grateful if you could continue to ask your teams, members and colleagues to do the same. The measures we have put in place in all our buildings, as part of our COVID-19 risk management arrangements, are extensive and satisfy public health guidelines for a COVID-secure environment; these include social distancing, modified search on entry procedures, wearing of face coverings in all public areas and frequent cleaning. Our buildings are not considered ‘close contact’ settings. Close contact is defined as spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of someone, face-to face contact of less than one metre with someone, skin to skin contact with someone or sharing a vehicle with them.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions,
With kindest regards and thank you for your continued support,
Acting Cluster Manager
Monday 9th November