I am writing to ask for your help to contact defence advocates who wish to appear by remote link at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.
Contrary to the recent communication from the Lord Chief Justice, it is not possible for this court to arrange hearings by remote link in many of the courts in this building with the exception of the Youth Remand Court (Ct 11). We simply do not have the technical wherewithal at present.
We can only consider these applications for cases listed in our Custody Overnight Courts in courts 7 and 8.
The following considerations need to be borne in mind:
“C.V.P.” hearings from police stations have been withdrawn by the police. All prisoners will now be produced in the cells at court.
The only exceptions will be those prisoners who are, or suspected to be infected with Covid. “C.V.P.” hearings can be accommodated for defence lawyers.
For those with clients in custody in the cells in this building, the only remote means by which instructions can be taken are via a single mobile telephone at this court. We have 2 overnight custody courts and access to this facility is necessarily limited.
Applications to connect in remotely must be made via the digital inbox at the earliest opportunity and will be placed before me as the Designated judge, or any judge nominated by me, or the sitting judge if the hearing is on a Saturday or Bank Holiday.
If we can facilitate a remote hearing we will do so. Please DO NOT ASSUME that we will be able to in every case. If you have to travel from out of the Greater London are to get here or from some distance to do so from another borough we will try to allow you to connect in remotely. If it is not possible you must be ready to attend court immediately.
If your internet connection from your home is not adequate. You will not be allowed to connect in remotely in future.
If you are unable to take instructions remotely to your client in the cells, you will have to attend court.
We cannot facilitate remote connection in this building in any other courts or cases at present. We cannot facilitate remote connection for trials or youth cases.
All advocates attending court are required to wear masks in public parts of the building. All advocates will be permitted to take whatever protective measures they prefer when appearing in court, as long as you are audible.
Please maintain social distancing at all times and DO NOT CROWD THE LIST CALLER.
We are reducing footfall in the building by reverting immediately to single listing of trials and vacating low priority trials.
These measures are designed to keep all court users as safe as possible in these difficult times. I am sure we can rely on the Criminal Bar to support us in our efforts to do so.
Susan F. Williams
Designated District Judge
Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court