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HMCTS brews up storm over coffee ‘sip-test’

Lawyers on a coffee run required to taste each drink before entering court

11 August 2017

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HM Courts and Tribunals Service has issued a warning that drinks brought into court buildings will now be subject to a “sip test” in a move aimed at increasing health and safety.

In an email to “stakeholders”, HMCTS said: “With effect from 7 August, all customers entering court premises with an unsealed drink can/carton/costa coffee/ flask etc will be required to take a sip of that drink at the security arch to validate that the content is harmless. The CSO [Chief Security Officer] may also ask that any bottled drinks be opened for this sip test to be undertaken.”

Anyone refusing to comply with this request will be refused access to the court, the email’s author said, before stating that any individuals on a so-called “coffee run” will be required to sip each drink before entering.

“Often, I see one member of the Bar entering the court building with numerous coffee cups having drawn the short straw for the coffee run that day. I just want to highlight that this new security procedure will in such circumstances require the sip test be conducted on all drinks and not just on a single cup.”

Barrister and Crimeline creator Andrew Keogh, who shared the email on Twitter, suggested the move would not affect all court users, tweeting: “I’ll bet good money that the Lord Chief Justice doesn’t have to sip his skinny latte before popping into the RCJ of a morning.”

With HMCTS brewing up a storm with its early and late court sittings pilot, it is unsurprising that lawyers have been quick to espresso (sorry!) their opinions on further disruption to their lives in court. For goodness sake, let them drink their coffee in peace.

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