Covid-19 staff shortages hit court services, officials say
The Supreme Court has been hit by “extreme staff shortages” because of Covid-19 pandemic, officials have said.
A circular said: “As a result of Covid-19, and other unexpected circumstances, the Civil and Commercial Division of the Supreme Court is continuing to experience extreme staff shortages.
“As such, we continue to ask that you exercise patience and understanding while you are waiting for documents to be processed.”
The circular, the first of the year, sent out on Monday, said the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Registries in the Government Administration Building were open between 8.30am and 1pm Monday to Friday, but that hearings would be held remotely where possible.
Searches of the Supreme Court cause books will only be allowed by appointment, but firms will be able to apply to get an electronic copy of any new cases added to the books.
The court system added that some services – including criminal records checks, the swearing of affidavits and certification of copies – remained suspended.
Criminal cases in Magistrates’ Court will continue to be held in person with Covid-19 precautions in place.
But the circular warned that people who were in quarantine or who had Covid-19 symptoms should not attend court or they could risk being held in contempt of court.
The circular said: “Instead, please immediately advise the Magistrates’ Court to inquire whether you may be allowed to appear for the trial or mention remotely and/or be given an adjourned date.
“If you are required to attend the Magistrates’ Court in respect of a new criminal matter – your first court appearance – but you are required to be in quarantine or are experiencing any symptoms related to the Covid-19 virus, do not attend court.
“Instead, please contact the Bermuda Police Service – Police Support Unit by phone on 247-1017.”
Magistrates’ Court will be open for filings from Monday to Friday from 8.45am to 1pm.
The cashiers’ desk in the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building will open between 9am and 4.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but between 9am and 1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The circular added that the Covid-19 regulations would be monitored and changed if necessary.