Navigating through the Covid-19 Crisis
The word unprecedented has probably never been used so frequently as in the last fortnight. All of our lives have changed dramatically as a result of the lockdown, and for lawyers who attend court on a daily basis there has certainly been confusion about the way forward. Initially, the Crown Courts and Magistrates’ remained open for jury trials to some outcry on social media over concerns about safety and basic hygiene at court. Now the message seems clearer, only essential and urgent work that cannot be conducted remotely may be done in person, more on that below.
Also after some initial confusion, a further theme of this crisis, clarification was provided by the MoJ that advocates (including solicitor advocates) required to appear before a court or tribunal (remotely or in person), including prosecutors, and legal practitioners supporting the administration of justice, solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty are classified as key workers. Legal practitioners can also intermittently fall into this category when they have to provide advice or attend a hearing for an urgent matter.
We have endeavoured to provide summaries for our key practice areas of the current state of play.
Download your guide to navigating through the Civil Courts here.
Download your guide to navigating through the Family Courts and the Court of Protection here.
Download your guide to navigating through the Criminal Courts here.
Several courts have closed or altered their practice, the latest listing information is here.
How 9 Gough Chambers Chambers is working
Our team continues to accept instructions in all our practice areas, although electronically as far as possible as we have closed our Chambers building – a step which many firms and Chambers are taking. We are keen and able to continue to provide a quality service even in these difficult times. We will attend all types of hearing, including final hearings/trials, remotely or in person when absolutely necessary.
Chambers can also advise via email or through tele/video conferencing where required. We have successfully conducted JSMs remotely and remain available to advise on papers especially as there may be an incentive to settle cases at this uncertain time. Our clerking team is working remotely but remain fully contactable as normal.
Providing Chambers with as much notice as possible for instructions would be preferable so the clerks and counsel can consider in what form the case will be heard and when. It will also allow the greatest potential for a pre-hearing conference to be arranged, to allow for full instructions to be given as well as advice, which is particularly key in criminal and family matters.