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Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for the public

Last updated: 14 May 2020

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak you may need legal advice now more than ever.

Solicitors are the experts when it comes to the law and how it affects you.

We’ve put together the following advice for:

We’ll update this information regularly to reflect the most recent guidance from government.

Make sure you follow the government guidance on coronavirus at all times.

Using a solicitor

Are solicitors still working? 

Most solicitors will be working during this time and can still provide the help and advice you need. However, law firms will be following government guidance and their staff will be working from home.

To find out if a solicitor is working, you can:

  • check their website
  • call them

They’ll be able to tell you what their working arrangements are and how they can support you.

If you need to find a solicitor, visit our Find a Solicitor website to find contact details for the one nearest to you.

What if I need a solicitor urgently?

To find a solicitor near you, use our free Find a Solicitor website.

It has information on solicitors in England and Wales and lists what kind of work they do.

Most solicitors will be working from home. Look on their website for details or call them to check.

Read more on how to find a solicitor  

Are solicitors key workers?

The government has made a list of key workers. This includes people “essential to the running of the justice system”. These are:

  • advocates (including solicitor advocates) required to appear before a court or tribunal (remotely or in person), including prosecutors
  • other legal practitioners required to support the administration of justice including duty solicitors (police station and court) and barristers, solicitors, legal executives, paralegals and others who work on imminent or ongoing court or tribunal hearings
  • solicitors acting in connection with the execution of wills
  • solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty

Moving house

There’s no need to pull out of transactions, but where possible you should delay moving to a new house.

You should work with the other parties to agree a delay or another way to resolve the matter if:

  • you’ve already exchanged contracts, and
  • the property is currently occupied

If you’re moving into a vacant property, you can continue with the transaction. However, you must follow the government’s guidance on moving house.

Your solicitor will continue to support you through the sales process and will help with the current difficulties of completing transactions.

Speak to your solicitor if you have any questions or concerns about moving to a new house.

Read the government’s guidance on moving house during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak  

Guidance for safe home moving

A quick guide to moving home safely during this period has been created to help you understand what you, and anyone involved in your move, will need to do to provide a safe environment for everyone.

This includes:

  • the estate or letting agent
  • the property lawyer
  • the photographer
  • the energy assessor
  • the valuer or surveyor
  • the removal company who move you
  • someone helping you organise your mortgage

This guidance is aligned with the UK government's COVID-19 recovery strategy and advice on home moving during the COVID-19 outbreak.

View the guidance on safe home moving (PDF 396 KB)

Making or amending a will

Solicitors who draw up wills are classed as key workers.

Most law firms can take instructions over the phone and have set up procedures for the signing of wills whilst the stay-at-home measures are in place.

If you already have a solicitor, they’ll be able to tell you what procedure their firm is using.

If you need to find a solicitor, visit our Find a Solicitor website and use the quick search option "Wills and probate" to find your nearest solicitor.

Choosing a law firm that’s a member of our Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme means your solicitor will meet our high standards for wills and probate services. You’ll be using a specialist legal professional who is regulated and insured.

Find out more about making a will

Employment rights

The government has produced guidance for employees on:

  • going to work
  • staying at home
  • sick pay
  • furloughed workers
  • claiming benefits

Read the governments guidance for employees

Job Retention Scheme

The government wants to help organisations to keep as many workers as possible on their pay roll until the longer-term economic impact of coronavirus are known.

The Job Retention Scheme is an economic package to help UK employers, regardless of size or sector, pay the wages of workers who would otherwise have been made redundant due to coronavirus.

Through the Scheme you can claim a grant to cover 80% of a worker’s salary who you’ve furloughed, up to £2,500 a month.

The scheme is backdated to 1 March 2020 and will run for at least three months.

Find out more about the Job Retention Scheme

Check whether your employer can use the Job Retention Scheme

Furlough: your employment rights

The scheme does not directly change the employment relationship between employer and worker. This means that you may need to agree a contractual change with your employer if you’re furloughed. Employment and equality law applies to this process.

Read the government’s advice for furloughed workers

If you need legal advice visit our Find a Solicitor website and use the quick search option "Employment" to find your nearest solicitor.

If you’re a trade union member, you may be able to get legal advice from a solicitor appointed by the union.

Domestic abuse

If you're a victim of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown it might be harder than normal to get away from your home or stay somewhere else.

The government has advised that the household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

If you need help, there are several organisations you can contact.

Contact the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free at 0808 2000 247.

Read the government’s support for victims of domestic abuse

Find a list of helpful organisations on the Citizen Advice website

Read the guide to staying safe on the SafeLives website

If you need legal advice visit our Find a Solicitor website and use the quick search option "Family and relationships" to find your nearest solicitor.

If you need help paying for legal advice, check to see if you’re eligible for legal aid.