Civil and Family work:
- Injunctions e.g. Anti Social Behaviour Orders obtained in the County Court.
- Children Act applications (for example child snatch cases where a residence order has been made in the County Court and the child has not been returned )
- Domestic Violence Injunctions with a power of arrest attached issued in the County Court under Part IV Family Law Act 1996,
- Other urgent applications where an individual’s personal safety, well being, business or assets may be at risk.
Urgent ‘out of hours’ application may be made in the Crown Court under:
- Schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; and
- Section 28 of the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986.
Times when the system operates
between 4 pm and 8.30 am each weekday;
between 4 pm on Friday until 8.30 am on Monday for each weekend; and
from 4 pm on the last day preceding a public or privilege holiday until 8.30 am on the day the court is next open
The following points would be helpful in deciding whether a court sitting should be convened:
(a) If respondent has been in custody over 24 hours they must be released and the court has no powers in these circumstances. Police could hold the respondent if he has committed a criminal offence in which case an order under these provisions would not be necessary.
(b) If arrested before 10.30 am Saturday morning a hearing must be arranged.
(c) If arrested after 10.30 am on Saturday morning the respondent can be brought before the court on Monday morning at 10.30 am. This is because Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday are not reckonable in the period of 24 hours.
How it operates
Urgent Court Business Officers all carry a Mobile Phone. Anybody who needs to contact one of them simply telephones the number provided. The officer will then discuss the case with a member of the judiciary who will decide whether a hearing is necessary.
The number to call is : 07795 302944
The Areas covered are Bristol, Bath, Somerset and Gloucester.
Hearings in Bristol
If a hearing is deemed necessary by a Judge in Bristol, most hearings will be held at the new Bristol Magistrates Court. The Urgent Court Business Officer will advise court users of the time of the hearing and if a hearing is to be held at an alternative venue.