THERE will be a limit on the number of people permitted in Carlow courthouse and in the courtroom when the district court resumes this week.
In pre-Covid times the district court was often a packed affair with well over 100 people often standing shoulder to shoulder in a packed courtroom.
While the courthouse adopted a raft of changes following the coronavirus outbreak, presiding judge Geraldine Carthy has laid out a plan for the safe conduct of business.
The plan, Judge Carthy notes, is subject to change as safety advice evolves. It may also be amended to accommodate other courts, such as the circuit court. The number of people who are deemed able to safely attend the courthouse will be 60, excluding judges and registrars. The numbers that will allowed into two district courtrooms will be 16 and 12 respectively.
Solicitors and barristers are directed to ensure their clients attend court at the relevant times and to leave the courthouse immediately after their case is concluded. Consultations about court outcomes should occur elsewhere.
The changes also apply to gardaí and the state.
With cases involving juveniles, defendants and their guardians should attend court in the same manner as cases involving adults. The child or their guardian is not required to attend where the sole purpose of the court sitting is to adjourn for a report from the probation services.
In respect of family law, those with matters before the court are asked not to bring family members, supporters or friends to court.
In civil cases, prosecutors of regulatory enforcement cases have been told to avoid bringing parties to court unnecessarily.
In debt enforcement cases where the parties have reached agreement, the respondent need not attend court.