Neil Berragan recently attended a five day trial in the Birmingham Business and Property Courts, at the direction of the trial Judge. This was by way of a test run for the Court and is understood to be the only hearing listed in the building that week. We thought it would benefit everyone to have some understanding of Neil’s experience.
- The security staff and court staff had been fully briefed on the new systems for maintaining social distancing and cleanliness.
- As we were the only customers, clearing through security and booking in was straightforward. However, once this is scaled up there will inevitably be delays.
- Conferences were difficult, as only two were allowed in a room together: most of the discussions took place remotely or outside the building.
- In the Court room the benches and floors were marked to maintain social distancing. In practice this was not always possible, for example when handing over documents, or taking instructions sotto voce.
Three witnesses gave evidence remotely via Skype for business .. They had been sent hard copies of the entire trial bundle: on reflection this could probably be streamlined by using e-bundles and/or agreeing key documents for examination of each witness in advance.
Neil took his own water and lunch, and arrived early each day.