As an emergency provision during the pandemic, forces had been supporting HM Courts & Tribunals Service with video remand hearings from custody suites. In October, the Gazette revealed that they would be pulling their support altogether from December because they could no longer afford to support it. Guidance was issued to forces last November, encouraging forces to use video remand hearings where a detainee is confirmed or suspected to have Covid-19.
This week, the Law Society revealed that Robert Buckland and Priti Patel’s departments have agreed a joint funding arrangement to support the reintroduction of video remand hearings for all defendants at a number of locations: Durham, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Norfolk, Suffolk and Gloucestershire. The courts operating video remand hearings for these forces are Norwich, Ipswich, Truro, Plymouth, Exeter, Derby and Durham. Kent is carrying out video remand hearings for warrants and bail breaches.
The Society said the joint funding arrangement supports reintroduction until at least the end of the financial year.
Society president David Greene said: ‘During this unprecedented health crisis, anything that can minimise the number of people having to appear at court for matters which could be reasonably dealt with via remote means, both helps keep our members and other court users safe and helps keep the courts open and able to tackle the backlogs.