18 Mar 2020 22:17

Russian courts close due to coronavirus except for urgent cases

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) - Russian courts have restricted the hearing of cases and public access due to the coronavirus threat.

"The presidiums of the Supreme Court and the Council of Judges have resolved that only categories of cases of an urgent nature, such as choosing, extending, lifting or changing a restraining measure, protecting the interests of a child or an incapacitated person, in the event of a refusal by a legal representative from a life-saving medical intervention, and so on, should be considered, as should mandated, simplified procedures," the Supreme Court's press service told Interfax.

The measures will be effective from March 19 through April 10, which means that non-urgent hearings will be adjourned until after April 10, it said.

All courts have also been advised to start hearing cases by video link, if they have the equipment.

Furthermore, trial attendance by people other than parties to the legal process will be limited.

Visitors will be screened for fever at the entry and those with symptoms of acute respiratory viral infection will not be allowed into a courthouse, the press service said.

There will be no face-to-face meetings with members of the public at courts during the period; visitors should submit documents online or by mail, it said.

All judges and court staff should self-isolate at the slightest sign of the disease, it said.