HM Courts & Tribunal Service has raised the possibility of asking judges for proof of vaccination against Covid-19, saying if vaccine passports can be used ‘proportionately and lawfully’ then they will be.
In a webinar this week on court safety, HMCTS said that court users, such as jurors, ‘almost inevitably’ will not be asked to provide their vaccine status. ‘The purposes for which people come into our buildings…means it is far harder for us to set up a vaccination passport regime than it would be for a nightclub, where people are voluntarily wanting to go in and will willingly demonstrate vaccine status.’
However, responding to a question from the Law Society, deputy director Craig Robb said vaccination is ‘one of the key weapons in the armoury against transmission, so if it can be used – and it can be used proportionately and lawfully – than of course it would be’.
Robb gave the example of a bench of three judicial office holders, sitting together without screens. ‘Theoretically you could use vaccination status there.’
France and Greece have both announced that Covid-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for healthcare workers. Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps said today that some UK companies will require people to be fully-vaccinated before going back to the office.
HMCTS has stressed that it is reopening the court estate ‘in a steady, careful way’ and that face coverings will still be required in staff, public and communal parts of court buildings. Screens and barriers will also remain in place and in custody suites, where measures – such as touchpoint cleaning, locked down phones, reduced numbers and fluid-resistant surgical masks – will also be retained.