Sheffield Crown Court continues to run and hosts magistrates' court hearings during the coronavirus outbreak
Sheffield Crown Court is staying open and continuing to run during the coronavirus outbreak and will also be hosting magistrates’ court hearings.
The court is one of a network of priority courts remaining open during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure the justice system continues effectively, according to the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts & Tribunals Service.
Work of courts and tribunals will be consolidated into fewer buildings to maintain safety and capacity with phone and video hearings increased.
There will be 157 priority court and tribunal buildings open for essential face-to-face hearings.
This represents 42 per cent of the 370 crown, magistrates’, county and family courts and tribunals across England and Wales.
The MoJ stated temporary changes will maintain a core justice system focused on essential cases.
They will also ensure social distancing for court users with cleaning and security focused on fewer buildings.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said: “We are facing an unprecedented challenge and the Government’s absolute priority is to save lives and protect the NHS.
“With each part of our justice system - from police to probation - dependent on one another, it is vital that we keep our courts running.
“This will only be done while ensuring the safety of the public, judges, legal professionals, staff and all those attending hearings and I’d like to thank everyone for their extraordinary efforts so far.”
The Lord Chief Justice said: “An extraordinary amount of hard work has gone into keeping our justice system functioning. Technology is being used creatively to ensure that many cases can continue. Not everything can be dealt with remotely and so we need to maintain functioning courts.”
Media and the public will be able to attend priority court hearings to ensure open justice.
Where this is not possible, judicial consideration will be allowed to join a hearing remotely or transcripts will be provided.
A further 124 court and tribunal buildings will remain closed to the public but open to HMCTS staff, judiciary and agency workers.
Other courts and tribunals will close temporarily.
These measures start on March 30 but will be reviewed.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court will sit at Sheffield Crown Court dealing with custody cases only, according to the courts.