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The impact of Covid-19 on lawyers and their clients.

We know that a lot of our colleagues in the profession are working extremely hard at the current time having implemented measures to work remotely to balance the needs of their clients and their professional conduct requirements. This is the same for all of the SHU Law team. We want to ensure that your legal matters can still progress but it’s inevitable that COVID-19 will create a more winding path for many to achieve what they want presenting issues that are not within the control of the lawyers.

The SRA has acknowledged these difficult times but has stated that the expectation still remains to act in the clients best interests. They will, however, look at compliance to distinguish between those genuinely trying to do the right thing and those who are not. They have stressed that the focus must be one of pragmatism.

It is safe to say though that the implications of COVID-19 have been far more reaching than perhaps was first anticipated. Jury trials have been halted and some court closures put in place. Victims of crime will not get access to justice in the timescale that’s they had hoped which will impact upon their ability to rehabilitate. In contrast think about the basis of the British justice system “innocent until proven guilty”. Inevitably those awaiting trial are also struggling to access justice. The latest guidance about accessing justice through the courts and what you should do if you have a court case ongoing can be found at www.gov.uk.

Some organisations such as Support Through Court were already undergoing periods of change prior to Covid-19. They launched their legal helpline at the beginning of March and this couldn’t have happened at a more appropriate time. The charities helpline is seeking to take calls from all over the country to help people navigate the complexities of the court systems.

It is inevitable that with the government announcing daily ways in which employees and employers have been affected by the need to self isolate enquiries made of employment lawyers have increased significantly with individuals struggling to navigate their way around the volume of information that is being issued. This will no doubt impact upon the volume of work faced by tribunals when things return to “normal” as despite their best efforts people will still make mistakes.

GP’s surgeries are off course on the front line. Already inundated on a day to day basis with patients and administrative requests the staff now face a real risk to their health and safety. It won’t assist if solicitors needing access to medical records continue with these requests but it’s inevitable that at some point we will have to continue to follow the due process required of us to investigate the claims presented by victims of personal injury and criminal injuries.

If you are worried about how COVID-19 might impact your legal matters then please give SHU Law a call on 0114225891 so that we can seek to reassure or send an email to enquiries@shulaw.co.uk.

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