The London & South East Relationship Management team are keen to ensure that key updates and information of relevance are communicated to you, and your local law society, periodically.
Please feel free to share the information below more widely with your committees and your membership.
We know members will have questions about the implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) for their clients, their businesses, their professional obligations, their own wellbeing and that of their employees.
In response to questions from our members, our latest advice for firms is listed on our designated Covid-19 page. This information will be updated regularly to reflect the most recent guidance.
As well as updates and advice, we're influencing government, regulators and other stakeholders on behalf of our members.
To stay up to date on the impact on the sector and our latest support, please subscribe to our Gazette Daily News Update, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly Professional Update.
Please get in touch to share any concerns you have relating to coronavirus and your business and the practice of law. Your feedback is essential in order for us to keep our guidance as up-to-date and relevant as possible. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Coronavirus (COVID-19) interview protocol
We have worked with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) on a coronavirus interview protocol.
This guidance is intended to assist investigators and prosecutors in deciding whether suspects should be interviewed as part of a police investigation during the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be reviewed monthly from 1 April 2020 and is intended for use only during the coronavirus crisis.
Read more and download the protocol
Changes to the asylum and immigration appeals process
Due to the coronavirus there have been some temporary changes to the asylum and immigration appeals process.
From 25 March 2020 there will be no face-to-face appeal hearings at the First-tier Tribunal.
Case management review hearings
Case management review (CMR) hearings will be conducted by phone until at least 30 April 2020. If the CMR shows that a full hearing is needed, this will be done by video.
The Upper Tribunal has cancelled almost all listed hearings, including judicial reviews.
The Immigration and Asylum Tribunal Chamber presidential practice statement note about COVID-19
Coronavirus and data protection
Coronavirus is having a significant impact on workplaces globally as governments and organisations are encouraging employees to work from home. But as organisations expand and embed their remote working capabilities, the overall surface area of risk widens.
Read more from our Policy Advisor, Andrew McWhir.
Support for our members' wellbeing and their businesses
With the continued spread of coronavirus we're focusing on supporting our members' safety and wellbeing. We're monitoring the situation and listening to your concerns.
With the move to remote working and cancellation of face-to-face events, we'll be providing more online support and virtual events.
There are a range of resources available to help you:
Support services for solicitors
Stress and mental health
Advice for firms facing financial difficulty
LawCare: support on working from home
Consultation on Mental Health Tribunal reforms- closing date for responses 7th April 2020- Link to consultation
The Tribunal Procedure Committee (TPC) is inviting views on a proposal to change the way that the First-tier Tribunal lists hearings in relation to applications by patients detained under section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), dealt with in the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber (HESC).
Drug offences consultation- closing date for responses 17th April 2020- Link to consultation
The Sentencing Council is consulting on a new guideline for sentencing drugs offences.
Family Procedure Rule Committee Consultation : Legal Bloggers- Private consultation, link not available- closing date for responses 20th April 2020- Policy Advisor Jessica.Mearns@lawsociety.org.uk
The Family Procedure Rules Committee is looking to understand the wider views on the attendance of legal bloggers at hearings in family proceedings and is interested in hearing from the wider community.
Protecting users of legal services - prioritising payments from the SRA Compensation Fund: Consultation- closing date for responses 21st April 2020- Link to consultation Policy Advisor Simon.Thomson@lawsociety.org.uk
The key issues include:
• Litigation costs and application fee support
• Circumstances where a solicitor has failed to have PII cover in place
• Maximum payments from the Fund
• Barristers and experts
• Conduct and behaviour of the applicant
• Contributions to the Fund
Revisions to the Attorney General's Guidance on disclosure and the CPIA Code of Practice-
closing date for responses 22nd April 2020- Link to consultation
The Attorney General’s Office is consulting on changes to the guidelines and Code of Practice for disclosure.
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
Beth, Bhavni and Stuart.