Human Rights Measure

Human Rights
Human Rights

COVID-19 Response Updates

Date Enacted: March 2020
Country: Ireland

The Courts Service of Ireland’s dedicated website on “COVID-19 Response Updates” contains information, updated on a regular basis, about measures taken in relation to the court system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of these updates explicitly note the importance of access to justice, noting, for example, that “[t]he main priority for the Courts Service is to ensure that safe access to justice continues to be provided during the pandemic.” The website includes statements from, among others, the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court, and the President of the District Court. Measures announced in May 2020 included: “virtual remote court hearings” and “[t]he use of video conferencing (in between prisons and courts) . . . to facilitate defendants in custody appearing in court via video conference for bail and remand hearings” such that prisoners did not need to “travel to and from prisons to courts” as much which “mitigated the risks associated with the spread of COVID -19 in the prison population.” The updates also note that “family law, child care and domestic violence applications in the relevant Courts will continue to be prioritized” and, similarly, that “[t]he Government’s plan recognises as a key priority the need to keep Courts open to maintain critical services particularly for those in vulnerable situations such as domestic violence, child custody, insolvency and debt cases.”