CORONAVIRUS BULLETIN FROM MASTER FONTAINE: ISSUED TODAY: QUEEN’S BENCH MASTERS HEARINGS

CORONAVIRUS BULLETIN 3 INFORMATION FOR QUEEN’S BENCH COURT USERS QUEEN’S BENCH MASTERS HEARINGS AND QB ACTION DEPARTMENT

I would like to update QB court users on further developments that I hope will assist all those working remotely.

Practice Direction 51ZA – Extension of Time Limits and Clarification Of Practice Direction 51Y – Coronavirus This has now been published. It provides that during the period when the PD is in force CPR rule 3.8 has effect as if the 28 day period when parties can agree extensions of time is extended to 56 days.

Electronic Signatures on Court Documents During this period when most court users are working remotely, often without secure access to scanning technology the QB Action Department has received a number of queries from court users as to whether documents filed with the court bearing either no signatures or electronic signatures are acceptable. Rule 5.3 permits any document that is required to be signed to be signed “if the signature is printed by computer or other mechanical means.” The QB Action Department will accept all documents signed with electronic signatures, but documents that are unsigned will not be accepted.

Barbara Fontaine Senior Master of the Queen’s Bench Division 3 April 2020