High Court sets out plans for Level 5

High Court sets out plans for Level 5

Ms Justice Mary Irvine

The High Court has issued notices setting out its plans for continued civil and criminal business during the six weeks of heightened Covid-19 restrictions in the State.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine, president of the High Court, confirmed that “no new jury trials will commence” for “as long as the country is subject to Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions”.

However, the notice on criminal proceedings states that jury trials presently hearing will continue to conclusion, “subject to weekly review and strict compliance with public health guidance and the court’s own guidance on face coverings”.

Sentencing hearings and pre-trial disclosure and case management hearings will also proceed subject to the same conditions.

The notice on civil proceedings confirms that certain work will not proceed, such as all non-urgent witness actions, including non-jury, chancery, commercial and personal injuries actions.

Ms Justice Irvine said: “The fact that certain proceedings or applications cannot be heard during the currency of the Level 5 period, does not mean that the parties should not use their best endeavours to achieve a negotiated settlement.

“The vast majority of proceedings are settled in advance of any hearing and the opportunity to negotiate a settlement remains the same as if the hearing date could be maintained. Likewise, depending on the dispute at hand, parties are advised to consider the possibility of mediation.

“However, as is stated above, all such negotiations or mediations should in the spirit of Covid-19 Level 5, where at all possible, be held otherwise than in a corporeal setting.”

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