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Courts ready to go remote as rail strikes loom

By John Hyde >>

(20 June 2022)

Court bosses are bracing themselves for the knock-on effect of this week’s planned rail strikes. Lawyers and other court users face a battle to get into towns and cities via train services when railway workers strike on Tuesday and Thursday this week. Industrial action is also planned by London Underground workers on Tuesday.

HM Courts & Tribunal Service said today it had reviewed its business continuity plans ahead of the strikes and is ready to respond if they go ahead.

This includes facilitating remote hearings where the judge decides this can be done in the interests of justice.

‘The format of a hearing remains a judicial decision that is made on a case-by-case basis,’ said HMCTS. ‘Parties should speak to local court staff about specific requirements or cases.’

Reports have already come in of potential disruption at the Central Family Court in London and adjournments affecting at least two other courts.

Fewer than a quarter of regular services will run on strike days, usually only between 7.30am and 6.30pm. Most major lines face disruption, including Avanti West Cost, Cross Country Trains, Great Western Railway and LNER.

There appears little prospect that train strikes – which are also scheduled for Saturday – will be called off at this stage. Rail unions say they are unhappy about stagnating pay and proposed job losses and are prepared to disrupt services for months.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)