United Kingdom

05 January 2021

Are the courts still open after the new lockdown in the UK? Find out what you can do away from home

Recently, the British government has decreed another lockdown, which will last until February. Many are asking whether the courts will remain open, and what activities they can carry out outside their homes.

The courts are open for face-to-face hearings, ensuring that judges, lawyers, staff and all those attending the hearings can maintain a guaranteed social distance.

The new lockdown in Britain does not prevent the transfer of members of the court or tribunal, including jurors, witnesses, defendants, complainants and victims. All court buildings provide protection from the virus.

If a party to legal proceedings has symptoms of COVID or a positive test, they should contact the court for their proceedings as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Justice endeavours to ensure the safety of all court proceedings, as some of them are carried out by telematic means, it is not possible for all of them to be carried out in this way

According to the guidelines for the prevention of the spread of the virus, published by the British Government, it is possible to work outside the home, if it is not reasonable to work in one's own home, so there is an obligation to work from home except for those workers in the construction, manufacturing or infrastructure sector. This obligation to go to work also applies to employees in essential jobs, including education and childcare

Attendance at primary and secondary schools is mandatory for vulnerable children or children whose parents work in essential jobs. The remaining minors will attend their classes by telematic means. 

University students studying the following subjects will attend universities after being examined twice on arrival or isolated for ten days:

- Medicine and Dentistry

- Medical and health-related subjects

- Veterinary 

- Education

- Social work

Students who do not study these subjects will continue to attend classes via telematics until mid-February.

The British government's priorities are now to stop the spread of infection and to speed up the distribution of vaccines throughout the country: 

"By the middle of February, if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation," warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

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