"How to ensure access to courts in times of pandemic"...
... without exposing the parties to the proceedings to the risk of infection with COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives. Public life, carefree personal contacts – everything is shut down. Wherever possible, people should stay at home and also work from there. The cosy meal at the Italian restaurant around the corner? Cancelled for the time being! A relaxing evening at the cinema with friends? Not possible for the moment! But unlike all the dispensable things we have to do without, at least temporarily, as part of the social distancing rules, a functioning legal system is indispensable for our modern society. Access to justice is a fundamental right that must be safeguarded even in times of pandemic. Therefore, effective hygiene concepts and technical solutions are required for trials and hearings to maintain the functionality of the judicial system.
Is our rule of law in danger of falling ill with the pandemic?
No matter whether criminal, civil or administrative proceedings – the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 does not stop in front of the court building. Proceedings that are suspended or delayed for reasons of preventive infection control cause a large number of problems. According to a survey by the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK), 75 percent of the lawyers surveyed complain about severe procedural delays of more than eight weeks. The survey found that the most massive delays occurred in criminal proceedings with around 58 percent, followed by social proceeding with more than 56 percent.
Enforcement of law must not fail due to the equipment of courts
It is commendable that the health protection of all parties involved is taken into account and that supposedly not so urgent proceedings are postponed wherever possible. However, the chairman of the BRAK working group "Securing the rule of law" is concerned that this could endanger the citizens' "right to justice". The enforcement of law and the conduct of court hearings should not fail due to the lack of equipment in the courts.
Making short shrift of droplets and aerosols
The plaintiff and his legal counsel, but also the defendant and his defence lawyer, are in constant dialogue during a trial – in a very confined space. In view of the common seating arrangement in a criminal court, a combined protection against moist saliva droplets and tiny aerosol particles is therefore required. This dual protection is offered by transparent acrylic glass partitions with an aerosol protective edge when installed between the seats of the parties to the proceedings. The partitions, exclusively available from Trotec, have a surrounding aerosol protective edge to deflect infectious aerosols and moist saliva particles emitted by the person sitting next to you during a court hearing. The specially shaped aerosol edge prevents aerosol particles emitted when breathing and talking from floating to persons sitting next to each other before the particles are removed from the room air by suitable room air cleaners or through ventilation.
Preventive detention for infectious viruses and aerosols
The TAC V+ high-performance air purifier reliably detains virus-laden aerosols in the room air. The mobile room air cleaner removes 99.995 percent of all airborne pathogens from the room air. In addition to the COVID-19 pathogen, these also include bacteria, allergens or fine dust particles that enter interior spaces through open windows. Escape from the filter? Impossible! To prevent the pathogens separated in the filter from re-entering the room air, the special H14 HEPA filter is cyclically heated to approx. 100 °C at regular intervals. This heating process destroys the microorganisms in the filter and prevents the formation of bacteria, biofilm and fungi without harmful chemical additives or UV-C radiation", confirms Prof. Kähler from the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich.
"If the virus becomes more dangerous, the mask must become better"
By now, we have become accustomed to wearing masks. While some weeks ago, simple face coverings were considered sufficient to protect against infectious droplets, the newly discovered virus mutations require even better protection against infectious aerosols and droplets. High-quality medical masks should therefore be worn in all public areas of the court building where the air is not permanently filtered by room air cleaners. Only medical masks with proof of origin, tested filter performance and high wearing comfort provide a comparatively high level of protection.
The best prevention: ventilation and CO2 traffic lights
In addition to permanent air purification, it is advisable to open the windows in the courtrooms for shock ventilation from a CO2 value of 1000 ppm. If high-performance air purifiers are used, this is not absolutely necessary for reducing the aerosol concentrations. However, it also helps to prevent high CO2 levels in the room air, which can affect our well-being and ability to concentrate. The CO2 content is monitored as required (depending on the number of persons in the courtroom) using the air quality monitor BQ30.
4 reliable components for infection-proof trials and court sessions:
Transparent partitions with an all-round aerosol protective edge
Reduce the risk of infection from flying droplets and tiny aerosol particles emitted by the parties in the immediate environment.
Air cleaner TAC V+
Effective and reliable minimisation of the indirect infection risk. Energetically sensible, scientifically proven effective and an important contribution to a safe jurisdiction.
As soon as the seat is left, on the way to the courtroom or when changing rooms, the medical face mask provides safety.
CO2 traffic lights
When does the room have to be aired again? Air quality monitors indicate when the CO2 content, fine dust and aerosol particle concentrations in the room air are too high.
Here you can find scientifically tested protection concepts for courts, administrations, plenary halls, offices and public institutions:
All information in the "Guide to protective screens for authorities, schools, offices and administration"
Our "Guide to protective screens for authorities, schools, offices and administration", available as a PDF, provides you with comprehensive information on how comparatively easy it is to implement a reliable hygiene concept in public authorities, schools, judicial buildings and courtrooms. The guide contains how-to information for implementing the hygiene concept for closed rooms recommended by Prof. Christian Kähler, scientifically proven facts on the risks of infection indoors, and technical solutions to reduce the risk of infection at office workstations to a minimum. You can download the PDF here:
Functional principle of the acrylic glass shield with an all-round aerosol protective edge
The all-round aerosol protective edge of the acrylic glass shield from Trotec ensures that the aerosol particle stream swirls around the edge. As a result, the aerosol particles remain in the area of the infected person for a longer time and mix with the air before they are diluted and separated by the room air cleaner. When aerosol particles hit a protective screen that is NOT equipped with a protective edge, the particles will flow unhindered over the edge of the screen. This allows the potentially infectious aerosol particles to spread to the next row of tables.
TAC V+ air cleaner from Trotec: scientifically proven effectiveness against COVID-19
The TAC V+ is the world's first mobile room air cleaner on the market that has been explicitly developed to filter out virus-carrying aerosol particles in interior spaces! For this purpose, the air cleaner TAC V+ ensures a quick and highly effective reduction of the viruses in the room air and in this way effectively neutralizes the risk of an airborne coronavirus infection directly at the installation site.
It was designed in particular with a view to the specific requirements in medium-sized and large rooms such as school classrooms, office spaces or gastronomy spaces. This is why the mobile carriage design ensures large air volumes combined with high versatility. Set up, reposition, adjust – all in next to no time, always exactly where the TAC is needed.