County Court Opening Hours – Manchester & Brentford
The County Court opening hours are about to change in relation to civil work at the County Court at Manchester and London’s Brentford County Court.
Usually court hearings run from 10am to 4pm. Sometimes urgent applications will be put in the lists before 10am and sometimes hearings will run longer than 4pm. Routine work generally is listed to be disposed of between 10-4.
However, Manchester and Brentford courts are running a test pilot with the county court opening hours being extended to include hearings taking place between 8.00-10.30 am and 4.30-7.00 pm. The idea is that the courts will be able to get through work more quickly, so proceedings and applications ought not to take as many weeks as they currently do to get before a Judge.
It won’t just be civil work such as small claims that are affected. It is also being rolled out for family work.
It sounds a good idea for hearings to be listed in the new available hours but it requires the parties to agree to it. It might not be commonly accepted, earlier hearings could result in pressure being put upon the parties to the claim and any lawyers involved, to attend court when it might not be as convenient. For example, those with childcare commitments might struggle to accommodate hours outside of 9-5. Getting to court for 8am might also pose problems in transport.
It will also put pressure upon the resources of the courts – longer hours mean more staffing hours, including the Judges.
The county court opening hours pilot scheme starts Monday 2 September 2019.