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15 May 2020

Judiciary NI Website - Updated Guidance On Court Operations

The Guidance on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) page of the Judiciary NI website has been updated and is available to view at the below link -

Key Changes To Previous Guidance

· Additional business in the Magistrates’ Courts will be listed including custody and bail preliminary enquiries, pleas and sentencing where the parties agree the matter can proceed, and other preliminary issues.

· In addition to the administrative reviews of High Court cases, administrative reviews of Crown Court cases and Civil Bills are to be commenced.

· Guidance on the listing of cases before Masters in the High Court has been updated.

· The types of Children Order proceedings and Matrimonial Causes cases being dealt with will increase.

· A pilot for the hearing of undefended divorce cases will commence in Belfast County Court on 26 May 2020.


In addition to the updated General Guidance for all Courts, specific Guidance has also been issued / updated in respect of the following areas of Court Business:

v  Guidance for Magistrates and Youth Courts

v  Guidance for Crown Court and Criminal Cases (PACE, POCA etc)

v  Guidance for Family Proceedings (All Tiers)

v  Guidance for County Court - Civil Business

v  Guidance for Masters

v  Guidance for High Court Reviews

v  Guidance for Coroners Courts

There are also specific instructions on the website in relation to the operation of the Belfast County Court Pilot for Undefended Divorces starting on Tuesday 26 May 2020.


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