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19 June 2020

QBD Actions – Hearings & Reviews – New Listing Arrangements

Practitioners with cases currently listed for hearing or review between 8 June and 30 June 2020 should closely examine the attached lists.  The list entitled “QB Callover” relates to hearings and the list entitled “Refer to Judge” relates to reviews. 

Representatives should collaboratively complete and lodge form QBDH1 (for cases listed for hearing) or QBCI1 (for cases listed for review) no later than 4.00 pm on 30 June 2020 by email with the Central Office (centraloffice@courtsni.gov.uk).  The subject line of your email should state either “QB Actions – Hearing” or “QB Actions – Admin Review” as appropriate.  Where a party is not represented or is a litigant in person, the Central Office will advise them to complete and lodge form LIPQBD1.   

Until now, the default position has been that where no form was received from either party in a case it would be adjourned for four weeks.  The new arrangement requires the completion and return of the appropriate form in all cases listed between 8 June and 30 June 2020 and referred to in the categories above.

Where no form is received from either party the court may require legal representatives to attend a remote hearing to provide an explanation for non-compliance with this instruction.

The listing of QBD actions will commence on 20 July 2020.  The court will sit every Monday and Tuesday during the period 20 July to 1 September 2020 inclusive to deal with QBD actions that are ready to proceed with the potential to list up to six actions each day.

A copy of this guidance and the relevant forms was published on the Covid-19 page of the Judiciary NI website on 17 June 2020 please click here

FAMILY CARE CENTRE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEWS AT BELFAST / CRAIGAVON / LONDONDERRY

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

Separate, more detailed guidance, should be consulted for Family Proceedings (all tiers) and for Family Care Centre (FCC) Recovery - these are reviewed and updated regularly.

The family judges for the Family Care Centres at Belfast, Craigavon and Londonderry  have identified the cases which are to be reviewed, and require you to lodge the requisite form for each case by the return date given below.  Forms must also be completed setting out the reasons where the parties seek an adjournment.

Representatives should identify their cases from the attached lists:

Belfast FCC Judge Crawford List wc 6 July 

Belfast FCC Judge Kinney List wc 6 July 

Craigavon FCC List wc 6 July 

Londonderry FCC List wc 6 July

and collaboratively complete and lodge Form FCI1 for each by email to the relevant court office by 26th June 2020.   It is essential that the forms are completed as comprehensively as possible to narrow the issues to be determined by the judge. It would assist the office staff and the judges if electronic copies of any documents relied upon or referred to in the FCI1 form were attached to it on submission. Email addresses for court offices can be found in Annex A The subject line of your email should state ‘FCC Review’.

During week commencing 6th July 2020, the judge will review the forms received, together with any relevant documents lodged, and determine whether each matter can be dealt with administratively or will require a hearing.  Where the judge determines a review hearing is required the parties will be notified of the arrangements. Orders / Directions will be available via ICOS as normal.

Judges will continue to hear urgent matters, those where the parties have agreed a way forward, or those where the legal representative or a party to the proceedings has requested a review / hearing and the judge considers it appropriate, where the representatives have lodged forms clearly setting out the circumstances, as per the Lord Chief Justice’s earlier guidance.

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

FAMILY PROCEEDINGS COURTS ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEWS AT ARDS & LISBURN

Guidance issued by the Office of the Lord Chief Justice on 12th and 22nd May set out plans for administrative reviews of Family Proceedings Courts (FPC). 

Separate, more detailed guidance, should be consulted for Family Proceedings (all tiers) and for Family Proceedings Centre (FPC) Pilot : Ards & Lisburn  - these are reviewed and updated regularly.

Representatives should identify their cases from the attached list:

Lisburn FPC List 8 July 

Newtownards FPC List 6-8 July 2020 

and collaboratively complete and lodge Form FCI1 by email to the relevant court office by 26th June 2020.   It is essential that the forms are completed as comprehensively as possible to narrow the issues to be determined by the judge. Where no form is received from either party the case will normally be adjourned to a fixed date. Email addresses for court offices can be found in Annex A.  The subject line of your email should state ‘FPC Review’.

During week commencing 6th July 2020, the judge will review the forms received, together with any relevant documents lodged, and determine whether each matter can be dealt with administratively or will require a hearing.  Where the judge determines a review hearing is required the parties will be notified of the arrangements. Orders / Directions will be available via ICOS as normal.

Judges will continue to hear urgent matters, those where the parties have agreed a way forward, or those where the legal representative or a party to the proceedings has requested a review / hearing and the judge considers it appropriate, where the representatives have lodged forms clearly setting out the circumstances, as per the Lord Chief Justice’s earlier guidance.

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

CROWN COURT ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW AT CRAIGAVON CROWN COURT

The County Court Judge at Craigavon Crown Court will undertake an administrative review of Crown Court (CCJ) cases for arraignment and sentence.  Copies of the lists of cases for issue to legal representatives and the PPS on 18 June 2020 are attached.  Representatives should identify their cases from the lists

Craigavon Crown Court List wc 6 July

and collaboratively complete and lodge Form CrownCCI1 by email to the relevant court office by 26th  June 2020.  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.

UPDATED SIGHTLINK GUIDANCE

The NICTS has issued updated Sightlink guidance which includes details of two new Sightlink lines:  Antrim (Sightlink 17) and RCJ (Sightlink 18).

UPDATED MASTERS’ GUIDANCE

The Bankruptcy and Companies section in the Masters’ Guidance was updated on 17 June 2020 to reflect that Debtors’ Bankruptcy Petitions and Directors’ Winding up petitions adjourned in March will now be processed and the relevant petitioners informed. 

In addition, new petitions may be filed as new business from Monday 22nd June and dealt with without the need for court appearances.  



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