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Courts system goes into shutdown

Northern Ireland's courts system is being put in lockdown due to coronavirus.

Members of the public should not attend court from today, even if their names appear on court lists the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, said. Instead, their case will be adjourned without them needing to attend.

"Similar guidance has also been issued to the Law Society and the Bar Council," read the statement.

In addition, from tomorrow any court business which does get under way will be consolidated in the following courthouses: the Royal Courts of Justice, Laganside Courts, Craigavon, Dungannon and Londonderry.

However, the statement emphasised that "until further notice only urgent matters will be heard and these are likely to be undertaken remotely using live link, telephone, Sightlink, Zoom or BTMeetme etc".

Any "urgent matters" needing a hearing will be "determined by the relevant judge".

Such matters, read the guidance, would "typically involve the immediate liberty, health, safety and wellbeing of individuals".

They include custody remands and bail application in criminal courts, and non-molestation orders and child abduction in family proceedings.

Belfast Telegraph