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Thursday 21 January 2021

FDA joins call for immediate Covid safety review of courts

Lady-Justice-Court-847

The FDA, as the union representing prosecutors in the Crown Prosecution Service, has joined fellow trade unions as well as legal professional bodies in calling for the immediate implementation of measures to improve safety measures for all court users.

As reported by the Law Society Gazette, in a joint statement sent to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the unions and professional bodies argued that "claims that courts and tribunals are safe and Covid-19 secure bear no resemblance to the reality of the conditions in most buildings across the estate", and called for immediate action to make courts Covid-secure.

FDA National Officer for the CPS, Duncan Woodhead, said:

“The FDA is pleased to support the joint statement calling for an immediate review of safety arrangements across the court estate.

“The emerging crisis of Covid-19 transmission in court buildings must be addressed by HMCTS as a matter of urgency to protect the safety and wellbeing of all court users and their families, and to ensure that the criminal justice system continues to function as the public would expect.

“Covid-19 has undoubtedly added to the huge backlog of cases in our court system, but it didn’t create it. The delays in our justice system have been years in the making thanks to years of underinvestment. Making much better use of virtual arrangements for hearings would allow all parts of the justice system to start to deal with the case backlog, while also ensuring the safety of victims, witnesses, jurors and all other court users.”

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