The second term of the Supreme Court for 2020 which was scheduled to commence on Monday will not take place in the event the situation in the locality of the Superior Courts Complex continues to be identified as an area unsafe for public to access and move around.
“It is observed that the location where the SC is situated has become a high-risk area where COVID -19 virus has commenced spreading. Thus, it has become important and necessary in the interest of public, to co-operate with the guidelines and advices issued from time to time from the authorities working hard to control the spreading of the said virus,” a notice issued by the SC on the Commencement of the 2nd Term, 2020 said.
However, applications to hear a case on the basis of urgency will be considered on merits and the circumstances and if satisfied on the availability of such circumstances, the Court will use its discretion and make an appropriate order in that regard, the notice said.
The notice also said as follows: -
• A notice published under the hand of the Registrar in due course will specify the dates on which the Registry will be open for filing new matters that had not been able to satisfy the procedural time limitations due to the closure of the Registry by reason of the imposition of curfew and other restrictions following the COVID -19 pandemic.
• The Registry will be open from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm to accept new filings other than the filings referred to herein-before, if the situation in the locality where the Supreme Court is situated permits.
• However, a party or an attorney may contact the Registrar in advance and schedule a time and date to open the registry to accept any new filings in any urgent matter, in the event the Registry remain closed due to adverse conditions.
• In order to ensure effective compliance with the Government health advisories including advisories on social distancing; and to avoid congestion, no person other than the Counsel / or the Attorney of a party or a person who is an unrepresented party will be allowed presence in court rooms unless prior permission had been granted by Court on an application by a Counsel / Attorney.
• Taking into account the number of cases scheduled for a particular day, listing of cases may be made on staggered basis. In such an instance, only the Counsel / Attorney and unrepresented parties of such cases that are listed for a particular time slot would be permitted to remain in the court room during the said time period, unless the court directs otherwise.