News of the Judicial System

Regarding the exercise of judicial functions during the quarantine period

Regarding the exercise of judicial functions during the quarantine period

In accordance to the resolution No. 207 "On the announcement of quarantine on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania" published by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, which announced the third level (full preparedness) of the civil protection system in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania and from March 16, 2020, 00:00 h until March 30, 2020, 23:59 h), the Judicial Council of the Republic of Lithuania recommends that the Lithuanian judicial authorities make following decisions regarding the organization of their court activities during the quarantine period:

1. Determine that, with the exceptions specified, the functions of judges in the administration of justice shall be exercised as follows:

                          1.1. Cancel all scheduled hearings in oral procedure during quarantine, except in cases of statutory urgency (for example, issues related to arrest, removal of a child from an unsafe environment). Schedule (postpone) hearings in oral proceedings until the end of quarantine. Ensure that those involved in the case are promptly informed of changes to the date and time of court hearings;

                          1.2. In urgent cases, organize oral hearings in the manner and time prescribed, taking all precautionary measures relating to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining a maximum distance between the participants in the courtroom. Provide one courtroom (or several if needed), for emergency hearings, provide regular ventilation and disinfection of this courtroom;

                          1.3. Determine the procedure for the organization of court hearings in the collegial written procedure and for making procedural decisions;

                          1.4. Determine the procedure for the organization of court hearings in collegial written procedure cases, i.e. provide for the time and periodicity of the presence of the chambers in the court premises, ensure maximum social distance between the members of the individual judicial panels;

                          1.5. determine the procedure for cases handled in a written procedure by a single judge - the period during which court hearings will be conducted (it is recommended to establish an order for scheduled court hearings in a manner that will minimize the length of time a judge is in court, limiting the number of judges at the premises of the court at the same time, and avoiding social contacts).

2. Determine that court civil servants work remotely without making any further requests. When necessary provide the information necessary to perform work functions. Arrange a work schedule in a manner that there would be no more than one person working in a closed office at one time. Other servants and contractual employees shall be required to work remotely without additional requests on a sliding schedule if there is no possibility to work remotely full time. The schedule for these officials and other employees is set by the Chancellor or Head of Unit. The working hours shall take into account the nature of the functions and shall evaluate how these functions should be performed during the period of the quarantine restriction. Ensure that only one employee is working at a time in a closed office (cabinet).

3. Determine that all judges, as well as court staff or members of their families, who have visited foreign countries 14 days before March 16, 2020, or who have traveled abroad after that date, to be isolated at home, barred from entering court premises and shall apply for leave or leave of absence granted because of illness.

4. Establish a working time regime for assistants to judges and other staff working remotely, which should coincide with court working hours as defined in the court's internal rules.

5. Determine that judges, assistants to judges, and other employees working remotely must comply with requirements set in the Resolution no. 716 of July 24, 2013, published by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on the General Description of Electronic Information Security.

6. Determine judges, assistant to judges, and other employees indicate their contacts so that they can be reached immediately while they are working remotely.

7. Restrict access to court facilities and stop direct service to persons during the quarantine period. Only judges, assistants to judges and other court personnel may enter the court premises during the quarantine period, when necessary for the performance of their direct functions. Restrictions on service to individuals may be communicated via a notice at the entrance to the courthouse, as well as on the court's website, providing contact information for persons interested in contacting the court remotely.

Chairman of the Judicial Council
Algimantas Valantinas