100 days in lockdown

What we've done in numbers and achieved since the start of lockdown

 

As a result, we've secured positive developments for the profession:

  • convinced the MoJ and SRA to allows oaths relating to commercial transactions to be sworn via video link (although appropriate record keeping will help if the oath's validity is later challenged)
  • persuaded the Land Registry to accept Mercury signatures, following our feedback on the difficulties of obtaining wet signatures in the current circumstances
  • ensured that the majority of trainees and students can still sit their exams, despite the SRA's initial intention to suspend these
  • lobbied the government to amend the proposed emergency coronavirus legislation to allow hearings under the Extradition Act 2003 to take place temporarily via a live link, as well as ensuring the government understood the need for a sunset clause in the legislation
  • secured amendments to the domestic abuse gateway to reduce the evidence requirements, which helped victims of domestic abuse to get emergency injunctions during lockdown
  • negotiated a protocol on remote attendances at the police station with the National Police Chiefs Council, which has been incorporated into the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) rules
  • contributed to the development of a risk assessment tool showing how individual courts are implementing Public Health England guidance
  • secured a range of operational changes in the legal aid system to facilitate remote working
  • economic crime levy consultation was deferred until July

Along with other groups, we persuaded the Treasury, British Business Bank and HMRC to:

  • defer the reporting deadline of the EU mandatory disclosure rules (DAC 6) by six months in order to provide taxpayers and intermediaries dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 additional time to ensure they can comply with their obligations
  • reduce its restrictive security criteria by not seeking guarantees for loans less than £250,000 and not taking security over an applicant's primary residence for larger loans
  • create a specific loan scheme for firms with turnover exceeding £45 million that are unable to access the Bank of England's loan scheme
  • extend the Job Retention scheme, leading to the extension until October and the ability to have part-time furlough
  • provide an emergency support grant to the Law Centres Network, the Access to Justice Foundation and other frontline charities to continue their work through the COVID-19 crisis