Thursday, 25 March 2021

Questions (154)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

154. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice the mechanisms in place to inform persons whose attendance at court is requested that the courts are closed as a consequence of Covid restrictions given persons are currently being requested to attend court without being notified of the court's closure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16109/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in its functions. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has advised me as follows. 

The Courts Service has used all available means to keep court users updated on the status of their cases. This includes:

- Publishing details on the Courts Service's website setting out the types of cases that are proceeding;

- Using Twitter to communicate with those on social media;

- Sending adjournment letters to parties involved in cases;

- Notifying legal representatives of what proceedings are continuing and who should attend court; and

- Sending text messages or notices to those people called for jury service when they are no longer required.

The Courts Service advises that the current public health restrictions are effecting court sittings across the country and and the situation can change from day to day, which often means that arrangements change at short notice. The Courts Service makes every effort to give court users as much notice as possible but unfortunately there will always be a small number of instances when communications do not reach the intended parties on time. I am informed that the Courts Service will continue to minimise such cases and apologises to any court users who are inconvenienced.

Regarding the cases referred to by the Deputy due before the Court on 19 March, the Courts Service advises that the District Court office sent out 147 letters on 16 March, to all those concerned, notifying them that the Court would not be proceeding on that date.