PROCEEDINGS BEFORE QUEEN’S BENCH MASTERS FROM 15th JUNE 2020: (EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE NOT GOING TO EQUITY YOU WILL HAVE CLEAN HANDS…)
A further bulletin has been issued which sets out the procedure for hearings before Queen’s Bench Masters from the 15th June. The default position is that hearings will be heard remotely. If an “in person” hearing is needed then it looks as if considerable care is being taken to protect the health of all those participating.
CORONAVIRUS BULLETIN 8 INFORMATION FOR QUEEN’S BENCH COURT USERS PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE QUEEN’S BENCH MASTERS FROM 15 JUNE 2020
All hearings will continue to be conducted remotely unless the Master considers that a hearing should be held with legal representatives and parties present, in which case, at the Master’s discretion, a hearing will be listed in the Master’s Chambers or in a court room. If a party considers that there are good reasons why a hearing should not be held remotely they should contact the QB Masters Listing Section QBMastersListing@Justice.gov.uk at least 7 days before the hearing and provide reasons.
Attended Hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice
If the Master decides that a hearing should be held with legal representatives and/or parties present in person at the Royal Courts of Justice the following restrictions will apply until further notice.
1. A hearing will only take place in a Master’s room if no more than two persons intend to attend. The advocates must sit at each end of the advocates bench to ensure maximum distance between them. The remaining seating for solicitors, parties and observers will be out of use. If a member of the public wishes to attend the hearing will be adjourned to a court room.
2. The parties must notify the court at least 7 days before the hearing whether more than two persons will be attending a hearing, so that a court room can be booked if required. Parties must also inform the List Office regarding the number of attendees.
3. If a hearing is held in a court room all persons present must ensure that they sit two metres apart.
4. Hand sanitiser will be available in the Master’s rooms and in a court room but parties should bring their own gloves, masks and any other protective clothing/equipment that they wish to use.
5. Door handles will be cleaned regularly in the Royal Courts of Justice, but we recommend that everyone entering Masters’ rooms and court rooms wear gloves and/or sanitise their hands after touching them.
6. Documents and skeleton arguments to be relied on at a hearing must continue to be sent electronically even where a hearing takes place with attendance in person, in accordance with the guidelines for electronic bundles.
From 15 June 2020 Masters Clerks will be responsible for organising remote hearings with Parties via Microsoft Teams, Skype & Telephone on Office 365. Parties will be contacted by a Masters Clerk who will facilitate the hearing arrangements and provide hearing directions on behalf of their respective Master. A list of the names and contact email addresses for each of the Queen’s Bench Masters Clerks is included at the bottom of this notice, this list will be subject to change when normal working practices resume at the RCJ.
HMCTS has introduced a Document Upload Centre, (DUC) using a public and private area within Microsoft SharePoint on eJudiciary.net which enables Court users to upload single or multiple documents for court hearings. It will be an optional facility and can be accessed only by invitation from a Clerk who will require an e-mail address from the Court users for login purposes. If you wish to upload documents using this facility you must email the Master’s clerk to request an invitation. Guidance on how to upload your documents via the DUC can be accessed via the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/ file/887109/Document_Upload_Centre_-_Professional_User.pdf
Queen’s Bench Masters Clerks
Master’s Clerk’s Clerk’s email address Senior Master Fontaine Master Davison Jonathan Eves JONATHAN.EVES@justice.gov.uk
Master Yoxall Master Dagnall Beverley Henningham beverley.henningham@Justice.gov.uk
Master Sullivan Master Gidden Sheila Anirudhan Sheila.Anirudhan@justice.gov.uk
Master Thornett Master Brown Mihaela Baditoiu Mihaela.Baditoiu@justice.gov.uk
Master Eastman Sajid Ansari Sajid.Ansari@justice.gov.uk
Master McCloud Agnes Elsayed Agnes.Elsayed@justice.gov.uk
Master Cook Sujen Subenthiran Sujen.Subenthiran@justice.gov.uk