An order has been in relation to the Circuit Court and County Registrar for Leitrim and the Northern Circuit.
It outlines what is to happen with the next Circuit sittings and County Registrar hearings.
Patricia Ryan, President of the Circuit Court released the following:
That the sittings of the Northern Circuit Criminal Court scheduled to begin in the week beginning 20th April, 2020 shall be dealt with as follows:
No jury trials will commence on the Northern Circuit during the Easter Term 2020. There will be a callover of the jury trials listed for the Easter Term on the first day of the sittings and they will be adjourned to the dates set out in the Schedule hereunder. Defendants’ Solicitors to inform their clients they need not attend if on bail.
Cases in which the accused is in custody.
Defence Solicitors are to inform the Circuit Court Office if their client does not need to be produced and can appear by way of videolink. All matters where the accused person is in custody to be dealt with as usual or by videolink where possible. If an accused person in custody wants to be arraigned and plead guilty he will be given a date at the callover, the case can be relisted to allow the accused to be produced and a sentence hearing can take place.
Cases in which the accused is not in custody will no appear in the callover list but the accused is remanded to appear on the dates set out in the schedule below. Defendants’ Solicitors to inform their clients they need not attend on that date if on bail. For unrepresented defendants the Circuit Court Office will advise them directly. If an accused person on bail wants to be arraigned and plead guilty, a date will be given at the callover and the case can be relisted for a sentencing hearing.
Any applications for an arraignment and sentencing hearings for an accused on bail can be made by applying to the Circuit Court office with appropriate notice to the Director of Public Prosecutions and they will be listed before the Court with Notice to all parties. Gardaí are to be advised to caution the defendants of the adjourned date.
District Court Appeals:
If a person is in custody on another matter and on bail regarding the matter being appealed, that appeal will be adjourned to the adjourned date without the need for him to be produced.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions/ Defence Solicitors may inform witness summonsed for Circuit Court matters (save for sentencing of Defendants in custody) that they do not need to attend for the matters listed in the sessions in the Easter Term 2020.
Adjourned dates for Criminal matters listed 21st April 2020 to week 28th April 2020 to Letterkenny to 14th July 2020.
Adjourned dates for Criminal matters listed 5th May 2020 to week 12th May 2020 to Carrick -on- Shannon to 23rd June 2020.
Adjourned dates for Criminal matters listed 26th May 2020 to Monaghan to 6th October 2020.
Adjourned dates for District Court Appeals listed 19th May 2020 to Manorhamilton to 7th July 2020.
Adjourned dates for District Court Appeals listed 20th May 2020 to Buncrana to 8th July 2020.
A Judge will be available to hear all urgent applications.
Family Law matters listed during the Easter Term are adjourned to a date to be fixed in the Circuit Court Office. A Judge will be available to hear all urgent applications.
Where practitioners inform the Court office that a matter is urgent (including for financial reasons) cases will be listed and applications dealt with by a Judge remotely in the first instance. If a non -remote hearing is directed by a Judge a sitting will be arranged.
Other Civil matters
Other Civil matters listed during the Easter Term are adjourned to a date to be fixed in the Circuit Court Office. A Judge will be available to hear all urgent applications.
County Registrars’ Lists
County Registrars motion courts, case progression hearings taxations and callovers will be adjourned to a date to be fixed by the Circuit Court Office, otherwise than where case progression hearings and taxations can be arranged by agreement with the parties and be dealt with without the necessity of the parties being present.
Where cases are settled and require to be struck out, or consents and requests for adjournments need to be ruled, these can be dealt with by email requests from both parties and will be ruled by the County Registrar without the necessity of parties being present. Similarly, applications for the appointment of Care Representatives, or applications for marriage exemptions, subject to the paperwork being in order, will be ruled without the necessity of parties being present.
Any urgent matters on consent can be dealt with similarly by email and the County Registrar will rule on them without the necessity of the parties being present. Where urgent contested matters arise, by appointment the County Registrar will sit and parties may have to attend. All other contested matters will be adjourned to a date to be fixed by the Circuit Court Office.
Parties will be notified by email to the email address provided to the Circuit Court Office.
The precise way in which necessary physical hearings have to be conducted is being kept under constant review and must, of course, be adjusted to reflect changes in Government guidance and direction.
It is currently hoped that it will be possible in early course for the courts to pilot remote hearings, where they are suitable and where they can be conducted in a manner which is fair and where the parties and their representatives can comply with all Government guidance and direction for the time being in force. Further statements will be issued to update both the public and practitioners on these developments and on other measures designed to allow the maximum number of cases to progress and be ultimately decided subject only to that being capable of being done safely