As part of its coronavirus (COVID-19) court-recovery plan, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has agreed to pilot extended operating hours in crown courts.

The pilot is to be rolled out to up to seven courts on the circuit and there will be one COVID-19 operating hours in each court centre. The crown courts named where the COVID-19 hours will be tested are:

  • Liverpool (which is starting week commencing 17 August)
  • Hull
  • Stafford
  • Snaresbrook.

What this means for members

We believe that, in general, extended operating hours are not the right approach to tackling the backlogs in the courts, due to the administrative and financial implications for both lawyers and the wider system. We’ve made this clear to the Ministry of Justice, however, a pilot is being set up to test a model of extended hours.

We have published some guidance to help members who are faced with the prospect of cases being listed within extended hours sessions.