This week, we've heard concerns from many firms about the consequences of compliance with parts of the new government guidance. This includes the possible financial impact of delays to transactions, court closures or cases being relisted on their income and cashflow – as well as fears about courts safety.
Solicitors must be able to fulfil their duties to protect access to justice and uphold the rule of the law. We have been making these concerns known at the highest level of government.
“Solicitors are stepping up in this time of crisis to keep the wheels of justice turning – attending courts, prisons and police stations up and down the country,” said Simon Davis, Law Society president. “ In short, they are doing the job the public and the government expects of them. Courts must be kept open, trials need to happen. The rule of law must not abandoned.”
"All they ask for at least the most basic protections – such as soap and sanitisers - and consistent protocols to ensure their health is not unnecessarily at risk.
"They also must not be placed under further financial strain for doing their duty. Legal aid payments need to be made – but not in the usual way and following usual procedures. There must be nothing usual about our response to this crisis.
"We are speaking continually with HMCTS, the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency. They are trying keep the system of justice on the road whilst ensuring practitioners are not put at risk. They know what needs to be done.”
We're keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice we receives from the Ministry of Justice, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.