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Nottingham Crown Court response to the Coronavirus

A telephone conference between the Recorder of Nottingham Greg Dickinson QC and local practitioners took place today,  Matters discussed were as follows:

  • Nottingham Crown Court has 74 trials listed between now and the end of April.  The majority are 3 days or less.  Of those the split is approximately 50/50 between bail and custody.
  • Parties are encouraged to communicate to try and identify cases that can be compromised.
  • Cases to be assigned to Judges so that they can be asked for input in appropriate cases.
  • 90% of work won’t require a jury.  The court and practitioners should be concentrating on those cases that we can do.
  • Use of telephone, skype and video link will be used to avoid attendance of as many people as possible if trials run.
  • There was perhaps a general acceptance that trials, whatever their length, are not going to take place.
  • The court is to consider the operation of a 24 hour emergency number for parties to use to notify the court if there are problems which mean hearings will not be effective to avoid unnecessary attendance of witnesses, jurors etc.
  • It is envisaged that the government will enact legislation to suspend custody time limits.
  • The principle concern will be the health of all participants in the court system.

If shorter trials are to continue then:

  • the court will endeavour to list matters to convenience of advocates.
  • the court will not bring trial matters forward without full discussion with the parties.
  • consideration to be given to advocates not to have to be robed and wigged to avoid having to use the robing room.

It is likely that all cases listed for trial next week will be listed for Mention on Monday without the need for witnesses and jurors for further directions to be given.

A further meeting has been fixed for Monday 23 March to consider next steps.

 

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