Information on Cookies

To make the best use of our website, you'll need to make sure your web browser is set to accept cookies to ensure you receive the best experience.

For further information, please read our Cookies Policy.

Log In

Go To News
COVID-19 Licensing Issues: Lord Chief Justice urges hearings to continue remotely Published Date: 19/03/2020

In an urgent Message issued today, 19 March 2020, the Lord Chief Justice has issued guidance to all civil courts and tribunals on the administration of justice during the coronavirus pandemic.

At a time when licensing authorities are considering their own position with impending hearings, the following points are of particular note:

  • “The default position now in all jurisdictions must be that hearings should be conducted with one, more than one or all participants attending remotely.” 
  • “I would urge all before agreeing to adjourn any hearing to use available time to explore with the parties the possibility for compromise”.
  • “Final hearings and hearings with contested evidence very shortly will inevitably be conducted using technology. Otherwise, there will be no hearings and access to justice will become a mirage. Even now we have to be thinking about the inevitable backlogs and delays that are building in the system and will build to an intolerable level if too much court business is simply adjourned”

The full Message can be viewed below:

Following his article (link below) the same issue yesterday (18 March 2020), Gary Grant, Vice-Chairman of the Institute said:  “Although not strictly binding on local authorities, this message from the Lord Chief Justice ought to be highly persuasive. Councils may wish to consider his guidance before deciding whether to adjourn further licensing hearings. I am aware of tribunals successfully using video-conference applications over the past few days, such as, to hold contested hearings involving 3 tribunal Members, several parties, and 8 witnesses all of whom joined the hearing remotely using their laptop, mobile device or desktop computer by simply logging in to a secure website address. The technology is already there to make remote licensing hearings a realistic option. This will enable the licensing system to continue, even in the current climate. “

Read original article by Gary Grant: