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Hannah Gannagé-Stewart

Deputy Editor, Solicitors Journal

Law Society calls for risk assessments in wake of Manchester Crown Court closure

Law Society calls for risk assessments in wake of Manchester Crown Court closure


Law Society urges HMCTS to risk assess courts in relation to covid-19 

The Law Society has urged the Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) be ready with risk assessments and contingency plans for court users following the covid-19 outbreak at Manchester Crown Court.

The court closed briefly last week after one member of staff tested positive for covid-19. There are now three confirmed cases from the courthouse and was closed on Monday and is set to remain closed this week.

The building will be deep cleaned and urgent cases have been moved to Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

Law Society of England and Wales president Simon Davis said today: “It is absolutely vital that HMCTS maintains clear and immediate communications with solicitors and other court users on what is happening in their courts and tribunals buildings – especially if a staff member has displayed any covid-19 symptoms.”

He added: “Risk assessments should be readily available for all court users as soon as they are requested and local communications systems must be in place to notify of any potential outbreaks or safety concerns. HMCTS must also have contingency plans in place so they can respond quickly to such outbreaks – closing courts if needed and reassigning listed cases to other buildings in the courts and tribunals service.” 

Two courtrooms are also known to have closed for deep cleaning at Liverpool Crown Court after someone tested positive for covid-19.