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Courts may require masks as Covid cases rise, lawyers told

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The use of face masks in court will be up to the presiding judge “on a case by case basis” as Covid-19 numbers are rising in the community, the Gibraltar Court Service said in a circular issued on Tuesday.

While the use of facemasks in courtrooms is not mandatory, a Judge, Presiding Magistrate or Coroner can “require their use if there is good reason.”

The circular was signed off by Hazel Cumbo, CEO for the Gibraltar Court Service, and sent to all chambers.

“With the increased prevalence of Covid-19 in our community, the use of masks will be considered by judges on a case by case basis, taking particular account of the number of persons which it is anticipated are likely to be present or are actually present in the courtroom,” the circular read.

“Where possible, notification of the requirement to wear masks will be given beforehand, but lawyers and parties are urged to have a face mask at their disposal at all times when attending court.”

Signs recommending people use face masks will continue to be placed within the court buildings.

Meanwhile, chairs have also been taped off and hand sanitiser stations put in place to ensure social distancing and help mitigate the spread of the virus.

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