A large part of me wants to get back to writing about service of the claim form, committal proceedings and the like (and to that extent normal proceedings will be resumed shortly).  Here a few additional links and updates.


The Criminal Bar Association has issued a COVID-19 statement here. 

“We remind our members that following Government and Public Health England Advice does not breach your regulatory obligations under the BSB handbook. We advise you to follow such advice.   Your health is a priority and we will do all we can to support you.”


The BBC (5 minutes ago) recorded a statement from the Judicial Office that no jury trial will last longer than three days.

“Given the risks of a trial not being able to complete, the Lord Chief Justice has decided that no new trial should start in the crown court unless it is expected to last for three days or less.
“All cases estimated to last longer than three days listed to start before the end of April 2020 will be adjourned. These cases will be kept under review and the position regarding short trials will be revisited as circumstances develop and in any event next week. As events unfold decisions will be taken in respect of all cases awaiting trial in the crown court.”


The Law Society Gazette reports on how the designated family judge in Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

“In an email seen by the Gazette, the designated family judge for Berkshire said all suitable hearings should be conducted via video link, Skype or telephone. Physical presence in court buildings ‘should be kept to a minimum’; witnesses should give evidence remotely where possible; and, if coming to court is unavoidable, attendance should be limited to advocates if they can readily contact their clients.”


This is set out in the GOV UK document here. 

“The bill enables action in 5 key areas:
  1. increasing the available health and social care workforce – for example, by removing barriers to allow recently retired NHS staff and social workers to return to work (and in Scotland, in addition to retired people, allowing those who are on a career break or are social worker students to become temporary social workers)
  2. easing the burden on frontline staff – by reducing the number of administrative tasks they have to perform, enabling local authorities to prioritise care for people with the most pressing needs, allowing key workers to perform more tasks remotely and with less paperwork, and taking the power to suspend individual port operations
  3. containing and slowing the virus – by reducing unnecessary social contacts, for example through powers over events and gatherings, and strengthening the quarantine powers of police and immigration officers
  4. managing the deceased with respect and dignity – by enabling the death management system to deal with increased demand for its services
  5. supporting people – by allowing them to claim Statutory Sick Pay from day one, and by supporting the food industry to maintain supplies
The proposals set out in the bill will significantly enhance the ability of public bodies across the UK to provide an effective response to tackle this epidemic. We are therefore aiming for it to reach the statute book and begin to take effect from the end of this month. However, the provisions relating to Statutory Sick Pay are intended to have retrospective effect to 13 March.”