COVID-19 Bulletin - Law & Practice - 01.04.20

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Updates on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on law and practice.

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'COVID-19: a protocol to assist solicitors who are working remotely and advising suspects in relation to police interviews', Keir Monteith QC, Victoria Meads, Patrick Roche & Lucie Wibberley - 01.04.20

This document is intended to draw your attention to the serious risk to life that solicitors and suspects, in police stations, are facing during the COVID-19 crisis and to suggest ways to reduce them. The protocol is intended to assist solicitors to give appropriate legal advice to suspects, at the interview stage, when working remotely. Please circulate to all of your professional contacts working within the criminal justice sector.

'The Coronavirus Act 2020: The Suspension of Port Operations', Adrian Berry of Garden Court Chambers - 31.03.20

"The Coronavirus Act 2020 introduces new powers from 25 March 2020 to provide for the suspension of port operations. The Secretary of State is given power to suspend port operations by section 50 and Schedule 20 of the Act." 

'Immigration bar protests “unworkable” remote hearing arrangements', Free Movement - 31.03.20

Barristers working in the immigration tribunal say that emergency measures to keep hearings going are “unworkable”.

HMCTS Update - Pregnant prisoners to be temporarily released from custody - 31.03.20

Pregnant women in custody who do not pose a high risk of harm to the public will be temporarily released from prison.

Open Letter to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government: 'Covid-19 – Measures Urgently Required to Protect and Support Domestic Abuse Survivors' - 31.03.20

"We are writing to demand that urgent measures are taken by Central Government to ensure that those who are at risk of domestic abuse are properly protected and supported during the current outbreak of Covid-19." Open letter signed by Garden Court Heads of Chambers alongside Public Interest Law Centre, Fiona Dwyer (CEO Solace Women’s Aid) and other signatories.

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary Update - Message from the President of the Family Division: how to submit an appeal during the COVID-19 crisis - 31.03.20

The President of the Family Division has directed that all appeals to the Family Division must be submitted by email to

LAPG Update 11 of 2020 - 31.03.20

  1. LAPG requests urgent financial relief for providers from the LAA
  2. New LAPG Covid-19 helpline for legal aid providers to start imminently
  3. LALY nomination deadline put back to 17 April
  4. DG Legal FAQs on Covid-19
  5. DG Legal free webinar tomorrow at 16.00 – Surviving the Coronavirus Downturn
  6. Volunteer to mentor aspiring legal aid lawyers
  7. LAPG Supervision Course – 15 May 2020

HMCTS Update - Mental Health Casework Section - Response to Covid-19 - 31.03.20

Temporary change in processes in response to Covid-19.

HMCTS Update - Recall, review and re-release of recalled prisoners - 31.03.20

Mandatory requirements and guidance for prison and probation staff involved in the recall, review and re-release of recalled prisoners.

HMCTS Update - Coronavirus (COVID-19) and prisons - 31.03.20

This page provides guidance for families and friends of those in prison in England and Wales during the coronavirus pandemic.

Malcolm Cree CBE, Chief Executive of the Bar Council Statement on working with the BSB to introducing staged PCF payments for all practising barristers next year - 31.03.20

"The Bar Council is acutely aware of the serious financial uncertainty that the Bar is facing as a result of the current Covid-19 crisis.  We are doing all we can to alleviate the pressures being felt by the Bar, largely by putting the case to government.  Direct measures available to the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board (BSB) are few.  However, the BSB has already extended the deadline for completion of Authorisation to Practise (AtP) until the 31 May, which is welcome.  The Bar Council, with the support of the BSB, will now introduce a two-staged practising certificate fee (PCF) process for those chambers which have still to pay their set’s fees in a ‘block’ payment."

FBLA Updates - Fees - 31.03.20

Updates on HMCTS, funding for advocates meetings/conferences, information on advocates meetings, AA/FAS Forms, hearing times, email hearings, conferences, cancelled hearings. 

HMCTS Update - The Royal Courts of Justice Fees Office has temporarily closed - 31.03.20

The Royal Courts of Justice Fees Office will close to the public until further notice (31 March 2020). Court users are advised to contact the relevant courts for assistance using the email addresses listed.

HMCTS Update - Civil court listing priorities - 31.03.20

The Civil court has two listed priorities of work that "must be done" compared to work that "can be done". Click here to find out what work is listed as Priority 1 and what is listed as Priority 2.

HMCTS - A network of priority courts will remain open during the coronavirus pandemic - 31.03.20

Follow this link to find out the latest information on what courts remain open.

HMCTS Update - Scotland customer contact centre opening hours - 31.03.20

Since Monday 30 March 2020 the HMCTS Scotland Customer Contact Centre has been operating reduced hours. The telephone lines are now open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday until further notice.

HMCTS Update - Coronavirus: Q&A for friends and family of prisoners - 31.03.20

Follow this link to answers of some frequently-asked questions about what coronavirus means for prison regimes. 

The first trial ever to be conducted entirely by Skype proceeded 'almost without a hitch', Law Gazette - 31.03.20

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