STATEMENT FROM LLOYDS PR SOLICITORS REGARDING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Updated as of 24th May 2020
Further to the previous notice on our website dated 24th March 2020, we have reviewed the updates and advice which has followed from various Government departments and can confirm that as of the 24th May 2020 the position is as follows:
- Our offices remain closed to visitors and our team members are working remotely from home;
- We are still providing a 24 hour service, and clients can contact us by calling the office numbers or the mobile phone number of their dedicated solicitor. As best as possible it is business as usual;
- We continue to work on all cases as normal and if you currently have a case with us, we will update you routinely on the status of your case. You can assist us by making sure the contact details we hold for you are correct;
- We shall not be sending letters in the post except to clients held in custody and so email is now our preferred way of contacting our clients. Should you have any issue with this please contact your dedicated solicitor.
- All police stations are currently operational. If you or a loved one are arrested and you would like for Lloyds PR Solicitors to represent you, the normal procedure applies and you simply have to tell the Sergeant that you would like for Lloyds PR Solicitors to represent you. Alternatively you can phone us directly to inform us of an arrest. Our team members continue to attend police stations 24 hours a day.
- Magistrates’ Courts are still operational. The Magistrates’ Courts have started to hear trials again and so if you are waiting for a trial in the Magistrates’ Court, we should be in touch with you soon. We understand that St Albans Magistrates’ Court and Stevenage Magistrates’ Court are re-opening on the 26th May 2020, however there will be strict social distancing measures in place, and you should only attend Court if you are specifically told to attend. You may well be given a specific time to attend, and it is important to attend on time in order to avoid overcrowding at the Courts. Our team members are still attending Magistrates’ Courts either in person or via videolink.
- This is going to be a slow process and the Magistartes’ Court are going to advise us on a case by case basis when the next hearing is, sometimes at short notice, and so it will be important that we have your up to date contact details so that we can be in touch at short notice.
- Most Crown Court buildings are still operational to an extent. The Crown Courts are making decisions on a case by case basis, and where possible are looking to hold hearings remotely.
- We have had a lot of queries about whether jury trials are starting again as there have been some news articles about this. The answer is that on the week beginning 18th May 2020, juries were sworn in at four courts – Manchester Minshull Street, Bristol, Cardiff and The Old Bailey – and these trials all proceeded into a second day with no reported problems. These specific courts were selected by a committee to test a new way of holding jury trials so that cases can proceed whilst maintaining social distancing. The committee reported on the 22nd May 2020 that they are pleased with the outcome and have reported positively.
- The committee is called the Jury Trials Working Group and it is being chaired by Mr Justice Edis.
- However, this is the first week of testing whether jury trials can proceed again, and so although there is a system in place for restarting jury trials, and the feedback appears to have been positive thus far, the process is going to be slow, and jury trials are going to be introduced into selected court houses gradually. Even when jury trials are operational in most courts, it is possible that the trials themselves may take longer, and that the courts hearing the trials will not be able to hear as many trials at the same time.
- This is going to be a slow process and the Crown Court are going to advise us on a case by case basis, sometimes at short notice, and so it will be important that we have your up to date contact details so that we can be in touch at short notice.
- If you or someone you live with is showing any symptoms of Covid-19 then you should not attend court or the police station. You should instead follow Government advice and stay at home in self-isolation for at least 7 days. Please call or email us and we shall attend court on your behalf, in your absence, and inform the court of your position.
- We understand that security at court will be monitoring whether anyone appears to have symptoms of Covid-19. They will refuse entry to anyone who they suspect of having symptoms. If you or anyone in your household has symptoms, you should not attend court. You should inform your dedicated solicitor who will attend court on your behalf and ask for an adjournment.
- We suggest that anyone attending court does so with some hand gel, face masks and gloves. Some courts are providing hand gel but this is not guaranteed.
We are encouraging all clients and members of our team to follow the most up to date Government advice regarding regular hand washing, good hygiene practises and social distancing. Our team members will not be shaking any hands at this time, and will try to avoid physically handing documents between people. Where a document can be scanned and emailed this shall be done instead.
This document aims to set out some useful general advice on the current position. For specific information about your case, please call your dedicated solicitor.