Round-up: Courts and Tribunals changes affecting journalists

Posted on: April 15, 2020 by admin

HMCTS has published data showing how audio and video technology is playing an increasingly significant role in the justice system. 

The figures outlining the uptake of audio and video technology in during the coronavirus outbreak, showed on 6 April 2020 around 85% of cases heard in England and Wales used audio and video technology.

The report also showed between 19 March and 6 April, courts and tribunals reported the use of audio in hearings increased from 100 cases to 1850 and for video hearings from 150 cases to 1100. 

Journalists seeking to access remote hearings can consult HMCTS’s special guidelines here


HMCTS is continuing to avoid physical hearings and arranging remote hearings wherever possible. 

All jury trials are currently postponed – established by the Lord Chief Justice on 23 March in response to the outbreak. 

Crown Courts are dealing with a range of work, the majority of which is being done remotely. This includes sentencing hearings and all urgent applications including applications for bail and applications to extend custody time limits. Pre-trial preparation hearings and further case management hearings are also taking place.

The Royal Courts of Justice remains open to the public; however some counters and court facilities have temporarily closed, such as the Court of Appeal (Civil) which is only holding urgent hearings and doing this remotely. 

The High Court has adopted its urgent business contingency plan, which details that urgent business will be prioritised. This is defined as business that would warrant an out of hours application in any of the courts covered by the plan. 

Magistrates’ courts are only covering urgent work and plan to re-start work on police traffic prosecution cases that can be dealt with remotely.

Cloud Video Platform (CVP) will start to be used in some civil and family hearings, as well as Skype.

Read the HMCTS operational summary in full here.