The Crown Court at Manchester, Crown Square – 17 August 2020

17 August 2020

  • While Crown Square is temporarily closed, where possible cases will be relocated, progressed and heard within Greater Manchester. The aim is to reduce loss of work to a minimum.
  • Monday’s trial is moving to Minshull Street and special arrangements have already been put in place to move all the documents and bundles from Crown Square to Minshull Street.
  • HMCTS met with Manchester Council’s Health Protection Team on site at the Crown Court yesterday. The Health Protection Team is satisfied that HMCTS has good processes and measures in place.
  • The Health Protection Team has provided a useful list of additional actions for HMCTS to take: some are to remind and reinforce existing measures; some are additional measures; they are nearly all tactical and most relate to back-office/staff-side areas of the building. Examples include: providing additional handwipes; ensuring touchpoints are cleaned systematically; constantly reminding staff and contractors, with consistent messages, to follow the procedures that are in place.
  • HMCTS subsequently met with Public Health England this afternoon. PHE confirmed that the process followed by HMCTS was correct.  There was also nothing said during the meeting to suggest that the building itself is an unsafe environment.
  • PHE is, however, reflecting on whether there is anything more they might do to learn from the cluster of cases at Manchester Crown Court from an epidemiological point of view. PHE is also keen to develop a greater understanding of court operations/interactions etc as this is an environment that is unlike many others they are familiar with.
  • PHE officials wish to consider this – and take advice from their own clinical experts about whether any proactive testing would be useful to them in terms of understanding disease transmission – over the weekend; we are planning to resume discussions with them on Monday.
  • These discussions will include consideration and clarification on the scope and implications of any wider testing that is proposed.