COVID-19 & The Bar: Do barristers have to go to court?
People in the UK will only be allowed to leave their home for the following reasons-
In our previous blog, we explored how guidance issued by the Lord Chief Justice on Monday would impact on criminal trials and in particular, whether barristers would have to continue attending court. The effect of that guidance was that no new jury trials would start until specific arrangements had been put in place to ensure safety. For those halfway through a trial, it may continue provided the Resident Judge is satisfied measures are in place to ensure that trial can continue safely. All other hearings in the Crown Court that can lawfully take place remotely should do so.
The short answer is ‘yes’.
In guidance published yesterday the Bar Council has advised:
This marks a subtle shift from Monday’s position as now, all other hearings in the Crown Court (excluding part-heard jury trials) will not take place in person.
In guidance issued for the Magistrates Court, the Bar Council has advised you should not attend in person unless you are involved in ‘urgent work’ which is classified as follows-
Guidance for Crown Court Judges in reducing the spread of COVID-19 was published on Tuesday. The focus of that guidance, as you might expect, was on how to ensure social distancing in a trial environment. The key headlines of that guidance are-
Although no formal, similar guidance on social distancing has been issued for the Magistrates Courts, we presume the same principles apply.
It is too early to know whether these measures will work in practice. In particular, there is the logistical difficulty of fitting twelve jurors 2m apart in court; not to mention the fact that the majority of jury retiring rooms aren’t big enough to allow 12 jurors to sit 2m apart. In spite of the judiciary’s best efforts, we can expect to see a number of trials being adjourned on account of not being able to implement these measures effectively.
Every solicitor knows that an undertaking is serious stuff. Arguably it is the greatest power available to a solicitor. A promise, if broken, that will lead to immediate and serious consequences for the giver. As such it can be relied upon to the ends of the earth. The power of undertakings has meant that they sit at the heart of every property transaction, bridging the time gap between the sending of money and the receiving of title. They are also used in other areas of commercial life and as part of litigation. The “brand” of a solicitor’s undertaking is so powerful that little thought is given as to where their power comes from.
This week, the Government announced that Covid-19 vaccinations will be made compulsory for care home staff, raising strong emotions on both sides of the argument.
Julie Norris and Jessica Clay consider SRA entity regulation and the imperative to create an ethical (ergo, compliant) legal workplace.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of good mental health and resilience both in and out of the office. Bronwen Still and Lucinda Soon consider your obligations
Gone are the days of computer gaming being viewed as a secluded activity; gaming is now a thoroughly social experience that attracts a global audience of millions and players can compete for large sums of money and celebrity. This burgeoning industry is largely in a virtual world and has developed in a blockchain, decentralised fashion. Often the UK government talks up the UK gaming industry and how keen the government is to support this sector, and there have been instances that show support, but when it comes to playing games competitively, law and regulations have not yet caught up.
The solicitors’ watchdog is right to take charge of misconduct cases but it needs firmer guidance to succeed
The COVID-19 crisis has forced sports clubs, schools, universities and charities to rapidly change their approaches to coaching, teaching and support work. The regulations on social distancing have forced organisations to innovate; services which had previously been offered mostly or wholly in person were rapidly shifted online during “lockdown 1” and will return online at least for the duration of “lockdown 3”. If the vaccine rollout has the desired effect there will no doubt be some return to “traditional” methods, but it seems very unlikely that the changes brought about by the pandemic will be completely reversed. In this blog, Claire Parry from Kingsley Napley’s Regulatory team and Fred Allen from the Public Law team look at the challenges organisations face engaging with children online.
In our fourth blog in our series on Beckwith v Solicitors Regulation Authority  EWHC 3231 (Admin), we turn our attention to consider what impact, if any, this landmark decision might have on the regulation of professional accountants. While the case turned on some very specific features relating to the regulation of solicitors as contained in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Principles and Code of conduct, some parts of the judgment may have more general application.
In the two years preceding Ryan Beckwith’s appeal to the High Court, the SRA pursued a handful of other sexual misconduct cases before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (Tribunal). These cases are varied and fact-specific and include sexual misconduct in and relating to the workplace and conduct outside of work.
Regulatory investigations across all sectors are increasing in complexity, with a corresponding increase in the size of the cost applications made by regulators upon successful prosecution. For solicitors facing investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’), the costs associated with prosecutions before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (‘SDT’) have made the headlines recently for their size. In Beckwith, for example, the Divisional Court referred to the SRA’s costs of c.£340,000 as “alarming.”
On 12 March 2018 the SRA published its warning notice on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This was in the wake of the widespread publicity at the time given to NDAs which had been considered too draconian in reach and effect.
In this 3-part tech blog series, we’ve explored how legal and accountancy regulators are driving and responding to changes in technology and innovation in their respective professions. We’ve also considered the commercial perspective, looking at interesting developments in these sectors , particularly around the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
In this second blog in our technology and innovation series, we look at some recent developments in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal and accountancy sectors.
In the first of our Tech blog series, we take a look at how regulators in the accountancy and legal sectors are supporting technological innovation in their respective professional sectors, and how they themselves might adapt their regulatory approach in the new era of digital technology.
It has been a year since the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) launched its Standards and Regulations (StaRs) and even longer since the revised Enforcement Strategy was rolled out. This time last year, we produced a series of blogs relating to launch of the StaRs and provided our views on what we thought you needed to know.
On 18 November 2020, the government confirmed that it is proceeding with planned changes to the Victims' Code, following a consultation that began on 5 March 2020. The changes mean that when the revised Code comes into force, it will be based on a clearly defined set of rights that set out a minimum level of service that can be expected from criminal justice agencies. It is hoped that the changes will mean victims have a greater awareness of their rights, receive the information and support when then need it and have a greater level of satisfaction with the treatment they receive in the criminal justice system.
On 19 November 2020, the High Court handed down judgment in the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care’s (“PSA”) challenge to a decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (“MPT”) to suspend a doctor from practice. In her judgment, Mrs Justice Farbey emphasises the significance of lack of insight to the question of sanction.
All providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (“CQC) must assure themselves that all directors who are responsible for delivering care to service users are fit and proper – in other words, they must be able to diligently carry out their responsibility to ensure the quality and safety of care. This forms part of the providers’ duty to ensure the service is well-led, which is one of the focus points during an inspection. Not only does the CQC monitor compliance at the point of registration, but it is an on-going duty and can lead to enforcement action where it is not met.
The route to obtaining a prestigious job in the legal profession is hard enough without the worry of whether past misdemeanours will prevent you from being admitted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as a solicitor. Convictions or cautions in early life (for even relatively minor offences), student disciplinary findings, civil debts and the like, are all capable of preventing prospective solicitors seeking admission to the roll becoming qualified as a solicitor. Since May 2018, prospective solicitors have had the ability to seek an early character and suitability assessment under the Authorisation of Individuals Regulations, enabling them to understand if something they did in the past could be a bar to entry to the profession.
Private prosecutions provide an effective way to seek justice; and particularly in circumstances when the traditional prosecuting agencies are unable or unwilling to act. Conducted appropriately they can be a useful, efficient and cost-effective tool to secure punishment of the guilty. Conducted badly they can be an expensive mistake with far reaching consequences.
In this blog series we draw on our experience of both bringing and defending private prosecutions to help clarify some of the common myths and misunderstandings about private prosecutions. In this blog we look at whether the private prosecutor is entitled to recover their full investigation and legal fees at the end of the case.
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