General Notices: 05 October 2020 - President Statement
Date5th October 2020
TypePresident Statement
Statement of the President of the High Court 2nd October 2020
Ongoing work of the High Court - Civil Litigation
A statement from President Irvine

Friday 2nd October 2020:
As the new Legal Year commences I would like to thank the members of the High Court, the Court's registrars and all court staff who have worked so hard throughout this difficult period to keep the courts functioning to the maximum extent possible. I am particularly grateful for the fact that they worked throughout the vacation period to minimise the prejudice to litigants resultant upon the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since my statement of 17th July 2020, the High Court has been in a position to resume much of the work it had earlier postponed due to Covid-19 considerations by implementing protective measures and new ways of working, in accordance with public health guidance, advice and Government protocols necessary to best protect the safety of court users. Every effort is being made across all divisions of the civil business of the High Court to clear any backlog arising from earlier Covid 19 restrictions, including the hearing of proceedings requiring oral testimony.
However, the need to comply with public health guidance and in particular social distancing requirements will mean that the High Court will not for the time being enjoy the same resources that it did prior to the onset of Covid-19. It is anticipated that all backlogs of motion lists will be cleared by the end of this month or early November. The Master will sit from 6th October 2020 and plans to clear the backlog of Motions by the 12th November 2020. In order to free up courtroom capacity and to reduce footfall in the Four Courts complex, as much work as possible is being carried out remotely and this is likely to increase over the course of Michaelmas term.
I cannot emphasis how important it is that those attending court strictly observe all public health guidance regarding social distancing, hand hygiene, cough/sneeze etiquette and the use of face coverings while in any court building or within the precincts of any court. The Court Service has set out guidance on how to access the courts safely and we expect all court users will always observe this guidance. Please also see practice directions HC92 and HC94.
This is an evolving situation and it is essential that practitioners and litigants in person continue to regularly check the notices published in the Legal Diary in relation to the various lists, as arrangements differ depending on the nature of the list and may change in the event of a relaxation or escalation of the Government advice and protocols.

Mary Irvine
President of the High Court