The Court Service in Donegal has released details of who should and who should not attend courts in the immediate future.

Please read the following details if you are due to attend courts in any part of Donegal for any reason.

Juror’s who have been summonsed to attend Donegal Circuit on the 24th March 2020 that they now do not have to attend.

The District Court

The President of the District Court has decided that given the developing COVID-19 situation and the need to focus on prevention of community spread of COVID-19 the following additional measures concerning the business of the Court will be implemented for the foreseeable future:

1. Parties with non-urgent cases are no longer required to attend court.

2. The District Court will continue to hear urgent matters only in all District Court Districts throughout the country.

3. Urgent matters are:
Criminal Law
Cases where the accused is in custody and cases where people are charged with new offences. It does not include criminal cases where the accused is on bail or is not in custody.

Remands where the accused is in custody should be dealt with by video-link wherever possible.

Family Law
New applications for protection orders or interim barring orders and return hearings of interim barring order cases. If safety order hearings are being adjourned interim protective orders will be extended to the new date.

Child Care Law
Extension of care orders and interim care orders and emergency care orders and exceptional or urgent interim care orders.

4. If your case does is not included in the description of urgent matters above, then it is a non-urgent matter and parties do not need to attend court.

5. Solicitors are to inform clients that they do not need to attend where their case is a non-urgent matter.

6. Non-urgent cases will be adjourned, and parties will be told of their new court dates by ordinary post or by their solicitor or barrister where one is present.

Civil Matters
7. All District Court Civil matters are considered to be non-urgent and will be adjourned generally with liberty to re-enter either on consent or on notice to the other party.

Exceptions
8. A case which does not come into the defined urgent category can be treated as urgent if a good case can be made. A party can email the relevant court office setting out the reasons why the case should be considered urgent. This should be on notice to the other side who must be given a chance to set out their position.

These measures will be reviewed at the end of the legal term on the 12th April 2020 or earlier if needed.

The Circuit Court

The President of the Circuit Court has decided that given the developing COVID-19 situation, the following measures concerning the business of the Court will be implemented:
1. Criminal Cases
A. Ongoing jury trials to continue to conclusion
B. No new Jury trial will commence for the remained of this term.
C. Custody Sentencing cases to be dealt with as usual or by video link depending on the application.
D. Non-custody cases to be mentioned as usual and remanded to appear on date after 10th June 2020.
E. Defendants’ Solicitors to inform their clients they need not attend if on bail. For unrepresented persons the Circuit Court offices will advise the litigants directly. Gardaí to be advised to caution the defendants of the adjourned date. Office of the DPP/defence solicitors to inform witness summonsed for Circuit Court matters (save for ongoing trials or sentences) that they do not need to attend. A Judge will be available to sit on each Circuit to hear urgent applications.
2. District Court Appeals
District Court Appeals to be remanded after 10th June 2020. A Judge sitting to hear urgent applications will remand/adjourn the district court appeals list to a date after 10th June 2020. The Circuit Court offices will advise parties of adjourned dates. A Judge will be available to sit on each Circuit to hear urgent applications.
3. Family Law
Family Law lists will be adjourned to a date after 20th April 2020. Parties to be advised of the adjourned dates by the Circuit Court offices. Practitioners or parties do not need to attend the Family Circuit Court unless notified by order of the Court.
A Judge will be available to sit on each Circuit to hear urgent applications. Urgent applications to be submitted to the relevant Circuit Court Office.
4. Civil Cases and Motions
Civil lists will be adjourned to a date after 20th April 2020. Parties to be advised of the adjourned dates by the Circuit Court offices. Practitioners or parties do not need to attend the Circuit Court unless notified by order of the Court.
A Judge will be available to sit on each Circuit to hear urgent applications. Urgent applications to be submitted to the relevant Circuit Court Office.

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