Protecting clients and staff in the pandemic

We have taken the decision that in the midst of this pandemic we will as a firm withdraw from all face to face client contact.

This includes all police station attendances, magistrates’ court attendances, crown court attendances and prison visits.

The office will now be closed and a sign will be placed on the shutter with a telephone number for client enquiries. We want you individually to continue to work from home and assist clients by providing telephone advice and via video links (bridging software can be used from home which the LAA will reimburse: – we will be sending out a further email regarding this).

It follows that in criminal matters our advice to clients is that it is fundamentally unsafe for us and them to attend court and that we can assist them by writing and telephoning the court to explain their and our absence and to request adjournments and the enlargement of bail.

In family matters it is our understanding the majority of hearings will now take place via Skype for business or by telephone.

It also follows that we are not going to ask any agent or Counsel to risk their lives and we will share this email with the agents we often instruct, freelancers, Counsel and their Chambers.

We are currently investigating how we might continue to support and represent clients using video link software from the safety of your own homes. We will send out a further update regarding this during the week. We have taken this step in the light of everything we have read and know about the highly infectious nature of COVID-19 and our responsibility for your health and safety. In the absence of any positive decision by the MOJ/LAA to protect providers and their staff we decided we cannot wait any longer for such a decision.

Yours faithfully

Greg Powell, Sinead Zaman and Saloud Zaman