The second lockdown and on-going COVID-19 support
The second lockdown, which started on 5 November, means that:
law firms may remain open during the second lockdown
solicitors and their firms should once again work from home, if they can. If this is not possible, they may leave home to travel to work at their firm
where possible, client should be met virtually. If this is not possible, clients can meet solicitors in law firms.
We’ve published a full set of guidance for law firms, along with what it means in practice for the legal profession.
Our coronavirus resources page is regularly updated to provide you with the latest news and guidance and we’re working closely with commercial partners and industry experts to offer support on:
how to increase business resilience and maintain wellbeing, while firms themselves drive recovery
the government job support schemes
eligibility for government job support
> Read our guidance on the second lockdown
> Read our coronavirus resources
> Read our practical framework on returning to the office
London Legal Giving Week (24 November – 1 December)
The Coronavirus outbreak has affected all of us – but it is the most marginalised groups who are facing the worst effects. Many people are acing life-altering issues with housing, employment, benefits, debt, and more.
Under these conditions, advice agencies have been working harder than ever to support the demand. However, years of funding cuts have left many operating on shoestring budgets, without the reserves to meet the extra demand.
London Legal Support Trust is asking for your support. Not being able to hold their regular fundraising events has meant a shortfall in 2020, just as the agencies they fund are facing a huge surge in need.
You can read more about the London Legal Support Trust and the work they do, and donate here.
ARTICLE: Solicitors reassured over PC renewal as extended deadline looms
As the deadline for renewing practising certificates looms, the Law Society has sought to reassure solicitors amid reports of more IT glitches.
The SRA, which is running PC renewals on a new IT system, extended the deadline to 20 November following ‘teething problems’.
Read the Gazette article in full here
FREE EVENT: International Day of Persons with Disabilities Celebration Quiz and Networking Event
Join us on Thursday 3 December at 19:00 for a virtual quiz to mark International Day of People with Disabilities.
Learn about the Legally Disabled research, meet our Lawyers with Disabilities Committee and have fun celebrating Disability History Month with us.
Read more and book here
FREE WEBINAR: Considering Source of Wealth and Funds from China (Friday 4 December, 12:00-13:30)
The Law Society with the National Crime Agency (NCA) are holding a webinar which will focus on Chinese Underground Banking. This seminar is for MLROs, MLCOs and solicitors with an interest in anti-money laundering compliance. It will give you a platform to learn about best practice and upcoming developments in AML risks.
Chinese underground banking is ‘the most prevalent money laundering threat faced across the Western world’. The business, worth ‘hundreds of millions, possibly billions’ involves cash from criminal gangs in the UK being made available to wealthy Chinese individuals who are unable to transfer money out of the country.
An ongoing risk to solicitors being an attractive target to organised crime presents unique challenges around sourcing of funds.
Led by speakers from the National Crime Agency, the National Economic Crime Centre and The Law Society Money Laundering Taskforce, the webinar will provide opportunity to ask questions and discuss the challenges you face in a safe learning environment.
Read more and book here
BLOG: ‘Fish files’ – the attack of the 4am impending doom case
“After months of back-to-back remote trials, just the idea of another heavy case awaiting me was tiring.” In a guest blog, barrister Rehna Azim shares what she learnt when she tweeted asking for tips for dealing with ‘impending doom’ cases; how some cases weigh heavily on your mind before you’ve started them.
Read the blog here
HMCTS publish civil, family and tribunals (CFT) recovery plan
HMCTS has published their CFT recovery plan which details the progress that has been made to safely increase capacity to deal with outstanding cases. It also sets out their plans as to how they will continue to deliver justice services for all users in these areas.
There are five key pillars of recovery:
maximising the capacity of the judiciary to sit as many sitting days as possible
re-opening our courtrooms where it is safe to do so as quickly as possible and reinforce this capacity with COVID Operating Hours and Nightingale courts where required
ensuring remote hearings continue to be effectively supported with increased staff support and guidance for users
increasing our staff numbers to support delivery as we adapt to new ways of working
continuing to build online services in areas such as probate and divorce and working with the judiciary to pilot new approaches, which saves administrative time and frees up judges to hear more cases.
> Read our press release
> Read the recovery plan (PDF 694KB)
HMCTS are hosting an online event (Wednesday 2 December, 13:00-14:00) to provide an update on their plans for recovery in the civil, family courts and tribunals. They will discuss some of the challenges the jurisdictions face and provide an update on the progress made in recovery so far.
Register for the event
You can submit questions during the event, or in advance, by emailing email@example.com
Professional court users waiting for a COVID-19 test result, are advised not to come to court
HMCTS has indicated that there has been some cases where court users, including professional users, are attending court whilst awaiting a COVID-19 test result.
HMCTS is currently updating their guidance on this but have stated that you should not attend a court or tribunal hearing if:
You have COVID-19 symptoms, whether or not you have tested positive, or are waiting for a test result
Your doctor has told you that you need to shield as you are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19
You have been told to self-isolate by the NHS
You have returned from a county that is not in the coronavirus travel corridor
The safety of our members and all court users remains a key priority and if any of the above applies to you, contact the court or tribunal immediately so they can consider alternative arrangements including remote participation and/or rescheduling.
> Read more about the national lockdown
> Read more about keeping safe at court
> Read the message from the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals
Artificial Intelligent and Intellectual Property: Call for Views – closing date 30 November 2020
Link to consultation
Policy Lead: Gurdas.Sally@lawsociety.org.uk
The IPO is calling for views to understand the implications AI might have for IP policy and understanding the impact IP may have for AI in the near to medium term. The Intellectual Property Law Committee will lead on our response, with input from the Technology And Law Committee.
Root and Branch Review of the Parole System – closing date 1 December 2020
Link to consultation (Ministry of Justice)
Policy Lead: Janet.Arkinstall@lawsociety.org.uk
This consultation seeks contributions on the merits of amending the Parole Board Rules to allow victims of crime or the wider public to attend parole hearings in some limited circumstances. The Criminal Law Committee will lead on the response.
National Data Strategy – closing date 2 December 2020
Link to consultation
Policy Lead: William.Mcsweeney@lawsociety.org.uk
DCMS is consulting on five proposed priority missions and actions to support the delivery of the National Data Strategy.
Getting Married: A Consultation Paper on Weddings Law – closing date 3 December 2020
Link to consultation
Policy Lead: Jessica.Mearns@lawsociety.org.uk
This consultation makes provisional proposals for a comprehensive new legislative scheme to replace the outdated, overly-restrictive current law of weddings, much of which dates from 1836. The consultation paper contains questions on each aspect of the law governing how and where couples can get married in England and Wales, from giving notice, to the location and content of the ceremony, the people who must attend, and how marriages are registered. The review also considers the consequences for the validity of weddings when any of the legal requirements are not met
If you have any questions in relation to any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us at London&SouthEastTeam@lawsociety.org.uk