Lawtons Solicitors welcome the announcement by the Lord Chief Justice that all Courts are to review current working arrangements, we have updated the guidance to all our staff and wanted to make our partners in the criminal justice system aware. From this morning we will only attend Court using video link arrangements.
We contacted our core Court/CPS centres last week to say that we have secure video link facilities in our offices and that all our Advocates also have Skype to enable us to conduct video hearings. We are still waiting for a response but recognise that planning will be afoot to manage in these extraordinary times.
We can conduct urgent hearings remotely – this will not endanger our staff, nor pose a risk to other Court users. Unless the Court can guarantee that we can maintain the required two metre distance at all times (to include client consultations) then we are not in a position to attend Court, to do so would flout government requirements – in our view the need for safety trumps everything else and we must lead by example.
We remain committed to ensuring that the most urgent hearings can be conducted, we are well versed in using technology and have invested in it. For non-urgent hearings, we can work out a sensible way of working in due course. We ask that all non-essential work be administrability adjourned to enable this review to take place. We will again make contact with our partners in the criminal justice system to assist in devising/implementing a safe system of working.