Precautionary measures against COVID-19
Court business is an essential public service. The effective and efficient administration of justice is integral to the Judiciary’s mission to uphold the rule of law. In light of the on-going COVID-19 epidemic, the Judiciary also attaches great importance to ensuring health and safety of Judiciary staff and court users. To maintain court business and registry operations as safely as circumstances permit, the Judiciary has been implementing various precautionary measures to manage health risk mainly in the following areas:
- Adjusting court hearings where necessary, such as fixing court proceedings with a large number of court users to be heard at appropriate times and intervals, re-listing jury trials and death inquests involving juries, diverting hearings to different courts if circumstances warrant, handing down of judgments by other means, broadcasting of proceedings outside courtrooms where necessary and practicable etc., so as to reduce crowd gathering and people flow and minimise health risk.
- Expanding registry area where circumstances permit, implementing queuing, ticketing, quota system or other crowd management arrangements where appropriate to regulate people flow and reduce crowding, etc.
- Conducting remote hearings or using other forms for disposing appropriate court proceedings as far as possible so as to reduce direct contact.
Preventive and crowd management measures
- Increasing the frequency of cleansing and disinfection of public and staff areas, installing screens and partitions as appropriate in courtrooms, providing hand sanitisers at different locations, requiring all people entering court premises to undergo body temperature checks and wear surgical masks at all times;
- Not allowing any person who has a fever or a high body temperature; who is subject to any quarantine requirement, medical surveillance or compulsory testing while waiting to test results; or who are preliminary tested positive or tested positive for COVID-19 to enter court premises;
- Reducing seating capacity of courtrooms and implementing admission control to regulate people flow and reduce crowding;
- Expanding registry area if circumstances warrant to allow more spacious area for court users; and
- Asking all persons entering the Judiciary premises to use the LeaveHomeSafe app or other permissible means of recording their visits to enhance health protection of court users and the community.
Provision of latest information
- Press release and stakeholder notifications on the latest arrangements on court business;
- Latest advice on preventive and crowd management measures are uploaded to the Judiciary website for information; and
- Confirmed/preliminary positive cases of COVID-19 from visitors of court premises in the past 14 days are uploaded to the Judiciary website for information.
The Judiciary will continue to closely monitor the public health situation with a view to making timely adjustments to the precautionary measures to ensure that public health is protected while maintaining the access to justice.
For prudence sake, if there are any suspected/preliminarily positive/confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Judiciary premises, regardless whether or not confirmation by the Centre for Health Protection is obtained, the Judiciary will arrange cleaning and disinfection of the respective floors and areas soonest possible. Judiciary staff who are genuinely concerned about getting infected for various reasons may also take tests for COVID-19 and stay home while awaiting test results.
Members of the public may call our hotlines for enquiries.