By Sofia Sajid, Sheffield Hallam Law Student
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has resulted in a worldwide pandemic. This has directly affected the court and the tribunal service: since most were entirely closed during the lockdown period in the United Kingdom. During this period, court staff, e.g. judges and other staff, etc across the Criminal Justice System were forced to adopt different techniques to continue working, such as using technology. The use of recording via video has allowed for the court to continue to a degree during this current unprecedented time, e.g. via the platform of Skype. Despite all the struggles the court has faced, ultimately their overall priority is to ensure justice is met for all. The court made the decision to prioritise cases depending on the seriousness of them and so made sure those were dealt with first.
At SHU Law, both staff and clients have been affected, particularly because the pandemic has caused Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claims, which SHU Law deals with, to come to an abrupt stop. A quote from a client at SHU Law who wishes to stay anonymous states that “this has been totally soul-destroying. We cannot move on until the trial has taken place. My husband’s mental health is suffering so bad now. Thank goodness for your support at SHU Law”. This shows how distraught clients are, essentially who have had no choice but to halt their cases, elongating the process so the healing process cannot properly begin. However, the staff at SHU Law are ever so understanding and sympathetic towards all their clients; this is reinforced by the client above. SHU Law has always taken pride in the service that they give. This includes not charging clients for any of their legal fees, which in essence allows clients to obtain the full 100% of their compensation. This is what makes SHU Law unique because they understand that not everyone can afford to pay, and so by doing this they are ensuring that nobody is restricted from receiving the justice that they truly deserve. And therefore, reinforcing that they are not a profit-building firm in comparison to others and that they genuinely want the best for everyone regardless of what age, race, gender, colour, religion, or ethnicity background one is. As is highlighted in the firm’s ethos which is: ‘to provide a platform for education and to widen access to justice’ for everyone.