Northern Ireland could see so-called Nightingale Courts set up to help reduce the jury trial backlog created by Covid-19.
Juries may also be reduced in size from 12 to nine, or even seven members, under plans being considered by the Lord Chief Justice and the Criminal Bar Association (CBA).
The new arrangements are being hammered out in meetings between the CBA, which represents a large number of lawyers in Northern Ireland, and Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan.
The proposals come as the list of jury trials not being heard due to social distancing restrictions continues to grow since being halted in mid-March as a result of the health crisis.
Currently, only essential business is being conducted at both the magistrates and crown courts.
This is carried out via videolink systems in lawyers' offices, in their homes or, in some cases, in custody.
Non-jury trials - so-called Diplock courts - are only held in exceptional circumstances and are almost entirely reserved for paramilitary cases.
An email seen by this newspaper and sent to barristers across the province outlines the new arrangements which may be put in place.
It reads: "The options being considered include, first, socially distancing and safety screening of a jury of 12 (in various permutations within existing courts).
"Secondly, using a reduced jury of seven to facilitate greater options for use of greater numbers of court rooms.
"Thirdly, Nightingale-type courts in external venues."
The email said the third option would likely take some time to introduce, "given the need to remodel and install technology and security measures".
It also said this was unlikely to be done in a timeframe of fewer than four months and that there was a "desirability of getting substantive cases completed in late August, September and October".
On maintaining juries of 12, the email said there would be challenges about where members would be positioned in courtrooms and about the number of courts that could be safely used.
"A jury of seven to nine would allow some greater flexibility, but concerns may arise about the dynamic of a smaller jury and its ability to ensure a fair trial. Any verdict would probably have to be unanimous from such a jury as a safeguard for defendants," it said.
On the proposals, a spokesperson for the Office of the Lord Chief Justice told Sunday Life: "The judiciary continues to work closely with the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service (NICTS) and justice organisations on the gradual and incremental recovery of court business.
"The NICTS has been undertaking a programme of Covid-19 risk assessments of court buildings.
"It is clear that the capacity of courtrooms is reduced, given the need to ensure compliance with the Executive and Public Health Agency guidance.
"Jury trials will be particularly challenging, given the need to ensure that everyone feels safe in attending court.
"It is intended to commence a jury trial in Laganside Courts on August 19 with a socially distanced 12-person jury.
"The Criminal Justice Board, which is attended by the Lord Chief Justice and chaired by the Justice Minister, has been considering a number of options. These discussions are ongoing."
On Friday it was announced that sentencing hearings in magistrates' courts would resume in cases in which the defendant doesn't have to appear.
Family courts are also set to resume.