Information on arrangements related to 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 to be heard at appropriate times and intervals, adjusting 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.
Registries and accounts offices
- Adjusting operations, implementing queuing, ticketing, quota system or other crowd management arrangements etc. where appropriate to regulate people flow and reduce crowding.
- Conducting remote hearings or using other alternate modes (e.g. paper disposal) 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 cleaning and disinfection of public and staff areas, installing screens and partitions as appropriate in courtrooms, providing hand sanitisers at different locations, mandatorily requiring all people entering court premises to undergo body temperature checks and wear surgical masks at all times;
- Not allowing any persons who have a fever or a high body temperature, and/or are subject to any quarantine requirement or compulsory testing while waiting for test results; or who preliminarily test positive or test positive for COVID-19 to enter court premises;
- Implementing admission control when necessary to regulate people flow and reduce crowding; and
- Expanding registry area if circumstances warrant to allow more spacious area for court users.
Provision of latest information
- Press release on the latest arrangements on court business; and
- Advice to court users including latest advice on preventive and crowd management measures is uploaded to the Judiciary website for information.
In light of the Government's latest assessment of the public health situation and adjustments to local anti-epidemic measures, the Judiciary ceases publishing information on COVID-positive cases involving persons who have visited court premises on the website as from 3 January 2023. 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 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.