Court buildings now consolidated

Information for attending court during the coronavirus pandemic

Information for attending court during the coronavirus pandemic

HM Courts and Tribunal Services (HMCTS) and the Judiciary have consolidated the work of the courts into a number of key buildings. There are now 157 (compared to the normal 370) courts and tribunal buildings available for face-to-face hearings across England and Wales

The courts, including crown, magistrates, county, family and tribunals have been consolidated in line with the The Public Health England coronavirus guidance to ensure effective social distancing with other people during the pandemic.

The changes  will 'help maintain a core justice system focused on the most essential cases.'

Key points

There will now be three types of courts:

  • Open court - open to the public for essential face-to-face meetings;
  • Staffed courts - these courts will not be open to the public but staff and judges will still work from these buildings. Staffed courts will provide where possible remote hearings by video and telephone and progress cases without hearings; and
  • Suspended courts - these courts will be temporarily closed.

In Cambridgeshire, the Cambridge Civil Justice Centre, Cambridge Magistrates Court, Huntingdon Law Courts, Peterborough Combined Courts and Peterborough Magistrates Court are currently classed as open courts. For a full list of court statuses please visit:

As of Monday 30 March, all hearings that cannot be delayed and cannot be heard by telephone or video and in exceptional circumstances will be held in one of the priority courts and tribunal buildings. These hearings will be decided by the judge.

Priority cases will still be open to the press and members of the public but only where safe to do so and in line with The Public Health England coronavirus guidance. If this cannot be achieved consideration may be given to join the hearing remotely or a transcript of the case will be provided.

For further help and advice concerning court hearings and if you will be affected please contact one of our lawyers in our Crime, Employment, Family or Dispute teams on 01733 882800 or email


Andrew Cave, Partner

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.