There have been a number of publications containing “Guidance” for users of the Civil Courts in England and Wales issued over the last few days.

On Thursday 19 March 2020 the Lord Chief Justice issued a message to judges in the Civil and Family Courts. The default position for all the civil courts is that hearings should where possible be conducted remotely for one or more participants, with sensible precautions taken if people are attending a court based hearing.

On Friday 20 March 2020 the Master of the Rolls, the President of the QB, the Chancellor and the Senior Presiding Judge issued a “Protocol Regarding Remote Hearings” [pdf]

On Monday 23 March 2020, the Lord Chief Justice published a further message stating that

We have put in place arrangements to use telephone, video and other technology to continue as many hearings as possible remotely. We will make best possible use of the equipment currently available; HMCTS is working round the clock to update and add to that

All new jury trials have been suspended,  As to civil cases,

Hearings requiring the physical presence of parties and their representatives and others should only take place if a remote hearing is not possible and if suitable arrangements can be made to ensure safety.

The Queens Bench Division is not listing any new “in person” hearings until October 2020.

The HMCTS Guidance on telephone and video hearings can be found here.  A “Civil Litigation Brief” on telephone applications can be found here.

The Coronavirus Bill is presently before Parliament.  The House of Lords Library has produced a briefing note on the bill [pdf]

There is general Government guidance “Coronavirus (COVID-19) – what you need to do