18 May 2021

Significant concessions achieved in dispute over court safety

PCS entered into a formal trade dispute with the Crown Prosecution Service over court safety and increasing levels of Covid-19 infections.

Following negotiations with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) we have secured a number of concessions in the dispute over court safety in England and Wales. We have therefore written to CPS to agree that the dispute is now over.

CPS has agreed to the following:

  1. A joint review and agreement of what constitutes business critical work: In a document developed collaboratively between PCS and CPS, there is a definition of ‘’priority trials’’. This provides a guide to members in terms of what work should be undertaken during the period of lockdown restrictions.
  2. An agreement on attendance at court on an exceptional and voluntary basis: We were clear that nobody should be forced to attend court if they had concerns over their safety and have secured key safeguards for members.
  3. An agreed triage listing arrangement where difficulties must be addressed within 48 hours, or deployment is suspended. The document provides a framework for triaging from a legal perspective but also a safety one, where cases should only be listed if safety measures can be maintained.
  4. HMCTS must carry out a risk assessment for each individual court building and share the findings with CPS staff 48 hours prior to the hearing.
  5. CPS must also carry out a risk assessment for each and every court, which must be conducted in advance of the hearing date and shared with staff and trade unions 48 hours prior to the hearing.
  6. That the Cloud Video Platform (to allow remote hearings), is made available to paralegals.

If you are a CPS member who is affected by this and needs help or advice, please contact your local rep. You can find their details on PCS Digital.

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