The Bar Council has today given further guidance to its members that advocates should not attend hearings in person unless they are “genuinely urgent” and cannot be done remotely. However, it is anticipated that such a hearing will be a rare occurrence.
My standing advice is that where a hearing is listed, practitioners should contact the court as soon as possible and ask for guidance. I recently wrote to the County Court at Huddersfield and asked what procedures are currently in place; I received a response today stating that “all hearings will be adjourned: you will be contacted before the hearing”.
The situation continues to develop rapidly and therefore it is likely that the position in relation to hearings will change.
Matthew Rose is a solicitor in the Clarion Costs Department. You can contact him on 0113 222 3248 or by email at Matthew.Rose@clarionsolicitors.com.
The Bar Council has recently announced new guidance for barristers on attendance at Court and on “Key Worker” status.
HMCTS has informed the bar council that “listing officers are working urgently to let people know what is happening but a good ‘rule of thumb’ is that if the trial is underway, the default is to attend unless the court tells you otherwise, but if the trial has not started the default is to stay away unless told to attend”.
HMCTS is advising in the Magistrates Court, that ‘it is best to attend if you are expecting to work today’.
In my view, where a hearing of any kind is currently listed, practitioners should keep in regular contact with the court to confirm the status of the hearing. For more information about standing advice in relation to hearings as well as some hints for working from home and dealing with the practicalities of hearings you can view my Coronavirus Update video here posted Friday 20th March 2020:
Up-to-the-minute guidance is available from the Courts on the HMCTS website.
Key worker status updated
The government has acknowledged that legal practitioners are fundamental to the running of the justice system and The Department for Education has just issued further guidance on which legal practitioners come within the limited category of key workers whose children may continue to attend school or nursery whilst they deliver essential services:
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, and
Solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty.
Practitioners are responsible for deciding for themselves whether they fall within these categories.
Clarion continues to be open for business, with some changes in working practices to ensure that the safety of our clients and employees remains our top priority. Matthew Rose is a solicitor and you can contact him on 0113 222 3248 or by email to Matthew.Rose@clarionsolicitors.com
Coronavirus has caused widespread disruption. This brief update lets you know the Courts’ current approach, and how you can work effectively under lockdown.
Further information and our newsletter containing an explanation of how to sign documents electronically can be found here
Matthew Rose is a Solicitor in the Costs team. You can contact him on 0113 222 3248. Clarion Solicitors remains open for business as normal, with enhanced processes to ensure the safety of our clients and staff.