The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett has confirmed that there should only be attendance at court where absolutely necessary during this third lockdown.
This message is, of course, to be welcomed but the question does remain whether more can be done in respect of opening further Nightingale Courts, especially in areas with shared civil and crown court buildings. It is thought that the rate of transmission is higher in crown courts owing to the fact that those in custody are often not kept in large, well-ventilated areas allowing the virus to spread easily amongst them.
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The significant increase in the incidence of COVID-19 coupled with the increase in rates of transmission makes it all the more important that footfall in our courts is kept to a minimum. No participant in legal proceedings should be required by a judge or magistrate to attend court unless it is necessary in the interests of justice. Facilitating remote attendance of all or some of those involved in hearings is the default position in all jurisdictions, whether backed by regulations or not.