A summer of disruption

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Barristers working near Olympic venues and traffic hotspots face disruption during the Games.

As Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt catapults himself from the starting blocks, the rest of the Capital may be at a standstill. The influx of visitors means Londoners will experience congestion and transport delays for the three weeks of 27 July – 12 August. Consequently, some courts and tribunals will be offering a reduced service.

Some courts and tribunals may deal with extra cases in the weeks leading up to the Games, and in the aftermath, to minimise delays.
The Registries of both the Supreme Court and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will be closed from 4.30pm on Thursday 26 July until 10am on Monday 13 August. The time limit for filing documents expiring during this period will be extended automatically until 13 August .

The Royal Courts of Justice will aim to complete trials in the week prior to the Games and will hear emergency applications only on 30 and 31 July.  All of London’s Crown courts will be open during the Olympics, but with fewer courtrooms. At least ten magistrates’ courts will be affected. Stratford, City of London and Thames will be restricted to one courtroom only.

The county courts at Bow and Woolwich will operate different session times.  The Family Proceedings Court at Stratford will hear emergency orders only for the duration of the Games, while the service at Inner London Family Proceedings Court, at Wells Street, will be reduced to three courtrooms.  Tribunals will aim to avoid the Games period. Special arrangements will be made for hearings at East London Tribunal, Fox Court and Taylor House.

An HMCTS spokesperson said: “Most of the courts and tribunals in London will be operating normally during the Olympics, and will deal with all urgent applications and cases.  “We have only reduced court and tribunal sittings at those buildings close to Olympic venues and known travel hotspots and are in the process of rescheduling listings to ensure that any displaced work is dealt with either before or in the weeks immediately after the Games.”

Meanwhile, courts across England and Wales could come under extra pressure as a result of court staff refusing to work overtime. Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU) have agreed to work to rule until 31 July in protest at proposed cuts to their pensions.
PCSU general secretary Mark Serwotka, has said he will argue for more industrial action in June.
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