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08 June 2020

For The Urgent Attention Of All Litigators – Civil / Criminal / Family

1.      UPDATED GUIDANCE & FORMS ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE

The guidance on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) page of the Judiciary NI website has been updated and is available to view using the following link:  https://judiciaryni.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

Changes have been made to the following documents:

  • Guidance for Courts
  • Guidance for High Court Reviews
  • Guidance for Crown Court Reviews
  • Guidance for Crown Court and Criminal Cases (PACE, POCA etc.)
  • Guidance for Magistrates and Youth Courts

The following forms have also been amended:

  • Form COAC1 Court of Appeal
  • Form QBCI1 Queens Bench Division
  • Form ChanCI1 Chancery Court
  • Form COMCI1 Commercial Hub
  • Form JRCI1 Judicial Review
  • Form CrownCC1 Crown Court Business
  • Form CCCI1 County Court Business
  • Form FCI1 Family Business

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2.      UPDATED LISTS OF CASES ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE

The Office of the Lord Chief Justice (OLCJ) has also forwarded updated lists for the administrative review of

(i)                  actions listed in the Queen’s Bench Division

(ii)                cases listed in the Crown Courts at Antrim, Belfast Laganside, Craigavon, Derry, Downpatrick, Dungannon and Newry

(iii)              the Family Proceedings Courts at Ards and Lisburn AND the Family Care Centres at Belfast(a), Belfast(b) and Craigavon and Dungannon

Members should check these lists as a matter of urgency to see if they or a colleague in their office has a case which appears thereon and if so they should make contact with a representative of the other parties involved in the litigation or case and action as required.

Given the difficulties presented by the current pandemic, it may be that one or more of the legal representatives is currently unavailable due to furlough or otherwise in which case you may wish to contact one of the principals in that office.

Colleagues are advised to REGULARLY monitor the Coronavirus section of the website of Judiciary NI - https://judiciaryni.uk/coronavirus-covid-19 and the Society's e-Newsletter - E-nformer.

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(i)                 CASES LISTED IN THE QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION FOR WEEKS COMMENCING 25 MAY AND 1 JUNE 2020

Please find attached the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD) cases listed in weeks commencing 25th May and 1st June 2020.  The judge will shortly undertake an administrative review of these cases.  Representatives should collaboratively complete and lodge form QBCI1 by email with the Central Office (centraloffice@courtsni.gov.uk) by 11th June 2020

Please ensure that you use the above link to access the form as it has been updated to include a question with regard to whether meaningful engagement has taken place.  It is essential that the forms are completed as comprehensively as possible.  Where a party is   not represented or is a litigant in person, the Central Office will advise them to complete and lodge form LIPCI1.

Where no form is received from either party the case will be adjourned for four weeks.  Reviews may result in the judiciary issuing Directions, requesting further information, listing the case for review, adjourning it or listing it for a future hearing.      Where the judge determines a review or other hearing is required the parties will be notified.  This process will be repeated on a two week basis to the end of Trinity Term (30th June 2020).

Practitioners’ attention is drawn to the current published Masters’ guidance, in particular the Review Lists section.  There is currently no automatic review list being generated.  However individual telephone conference reviews have and will continue to take place if necessary (usually on a Wednesday) but only if it is not possible for the matter to be dealt with on paper, as detailed in the guidance.

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(ii)               CASES LISTED IN THE CROWN COURTS SITTING AT ANTRIM / BELFAST / CRAIGAVON / DERRY / DOWNPATRICK / DUNGANNON / NEWRY

County Court Judges will undertake an administrative review of Crown Court (CCJ) cases for arraignment and sentence.  Copies of the lists of cases issued to legal representatives and the PPS on 5 June 2020 are beow. 

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1. Antrim cases listed wc 22 June

2. Belfast Laganside cases listed wc 22 June 2020

3. Craigavon Arraignment Stage and Plea Sentence Stage cases (Courts 1 and 2) listed wc 22 June 2020

4 Downpatrick Arraignment and Plea Sentence stage cases listed wc 22 June 2020

5. Dungannon Arraignment and Plea Sentence stage cases listed wc 22 June 2020

6. Londonderry Arraignment and Plea Sentence Crown listed wc 22 June 2020

7. Newry Arraignment and Plea Sentence stage cases listed wc 22 June

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Representatives should identify their cases from the lists above and collaboratively complete and lodge Form CrownCCI1 by email to the relevant court office by 12 June 2020.

Please ensure that you use the above link to access the form as it has been updated to include a question with regard to whether meaningful engagement has taken place.  It is essential that the forms are completed as comprehensively as possible. Email addresses for court offices can be found in Annex A.  The subject line of your email should state “Crown Court Review”. 

Forms must be lodged except where legal representatives are actively engaging with the judge (no form is required in this instance). 

Following an administrative review of the forms the relevant judge will determine a date and time for a hearing and the parties will be notified of the arrangements.  Any urgent or agreed applications will continue to be dealt with in accordance with the Guidance for Crown Court and Criminal Cases published at https://judiciaryni.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

Any queries regarding the administrative reviews should be directed to the relevant court office.

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(iii)             CASES LISTED IN THE FAMILY CARE CENTRES AT BELFAST, CRAIGAVON AND DUNGANNON AND IN THE FAMILY PROCEEDINGS COURTS IN ARDS AND LISBURN

Guidance issued by the Office of the Lord Chief Justice on 12th and 22nd May set out plans to commence administrative reviews of Family Care Court (FCC) and Family Proceedings Court (FPC) cases.

The judges will undertake administrative reviews of the cases in the lists below during week commencing 22nd June 2020

8a. Belfast FCC Judge Crawford listed wc 22 June 2020

8b. Belfast FCC Judge Kinney listed wc 22 June 2020

9. Craigavon FCC - listed wc 22 June 2020

10. Dungannon FCC - listed wc 22 June 2020

11. Ards FPC - listed wc 22.06.2020

12. Lisburn FPC - listed for 24 June 2020

Representatives should identify their cases from the attached list, and collaboratively complete and lodge Form FCI1 by email to the relevant court office by 12th June 2020.   Please ensure that you use the above link to access the form as it has been updated to include a question with regard to whether meaningful engagement has taken place.   It is essential that the forms are completed as comprehensively as possible.  The subject line of your email should state ‘FPC Review’ or ‘FCC Review’ as appropriate.

Where no form is received from either party the case will be adjourned to a fixed date. Where the judge determines a review hearing is required the parties will be notified of the arrangements. Any urgent or agreed applications will continue to be dealt with as per the Lord Chief Justice’s earlier guidance.

Any queries regarding the administrative reviews should be directed to the relevant court office.



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