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Courts scale back to only deal with urgent business

  

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The country's courts will largely shut down for the coming weeks, with only urgent matters being dealt with due to fears over the spread of Covid-19.

Ongoing jury trials will continue to their conclusion, but the vast majority of other court business is to be adjourned.

The decision came after considerable unease was voiced by the legal professions about initial plans to scale back on sittings, which many felt did not go far enough.

A revised notice was issued at 6.20pm yesterday confirming court hearings would now be drastically reduced after updated advice from the HSE.

Representatives of the Law Society and the Bar of Ireland had pressed for the changes throughout the day.

In a statement, the Courts Service said the initial measures had been "very successful" and resulted in a huge decrease in the numbers in court.

"We propose to continue to introduce further changes to scale back even further on the numbers attending court from Monday," the statement said.

Ongoing Central Criminal Court trials are to continue to their conclusion, but no new trials will start in the coming weeks.

Urgent matters the courts will deal with include new criminal charges, new protection or interim barring order applications and the extension of emergency child care orders.

Irish Independent