President of the Court of Appeal, Dennis Morrison, has issued Emergency Practice Directions in light of COVID-19, suspending all in-person hearings in chambers and open court until May 11.
The action has been taken to protect the health of judges, staff members, close protection officers, security guards at the Court of Appeal, attorneys-at-law and members of the public while providing reduced court services.
In a statement issued to court staff, Mr. Morrison said the directive takes effect immediately and may be altered as the situation develops.
The hearings of urgent applications, as well as case management conferences that are listed for hearing before a single judge of appeal, will be conducted via telephone conference or other electronic means.
Mr. Morrison added that until May 8, all judgments of the court or single judge of appeal, will be delivered in open court or chambers by whatever means deemed appropriate.
This includes the use of teleconference or other electronic means.
In criminal cases, the bail of all applicants or appellants whose hearing dates fall within the period March 23 to May 8, has been extended to May 11 at 9:30 a.m., at which time they shall be expected to appear before the court.
Meanwhile, all persons accessing the Appeal Court building will be required to have their hands sanitised by security guards stationed at entrance points.
Guards will be authorised to decline entry to persons who refuse to comply.
Public entrance to the court building, in particular the registry, will be limited in keeping with the guidelines given by the Government.
While the registry of the court will remain open to the public during its usual opening hours, it will operate with reduced staff.