Covid-19 : necessary modifications [rev.03]

03 July 2020

In view of the Government’s gradual re-opening of life, education and the economy – while public transport remains largely the preserve of key workers – we in East Anglian Chambers are continuing to maintain but adjust the various steps needed to reduce unnecessary risks to our clients, contacts, barristers and staff while ensuring the efficient operation of Chambers. These are currently as follows :

  • With effect from 1st July 2020, and the courts’ and tribunals’ attempts to restore face-to-face hearings while directing that the default position for most types of case is that they be dealt with remotely by telephone or video hearing or on paper, most of our barristers and staff continue to work predominantly from home, but with a slowly increasing clerking and admin team on the premises. This is our latest interim measure, and we shall be making further adjustments as government, NHS and MoJ advice develops.
  • We have full access to our LEX case management system and emails will be dealt with as usual. Calls to Chambers will be answered by the clerks’ room and forwarded to relevant mobile numbers, but if you can email rather than telephone us (or email and ask us to call you back) it would greatly help us in maintaining the prompt and effective service that you expect from us.
  • If you absolutely have to provide large sets of instructions or trial bundles in hard copy please email us first and we will be in touch to discuss the most suitable means of delivering them to the barrister concerned. For preference, and certainly for normal sized briefs or sets of instructions, please scan and email the bundle to us. If you do not have the email address of the person you wish to communicate with please use
  • We continue to encourage the use of telephone conference calls, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Zoom for conferences for the time being. Our conference rooms cannot accommodate more than two or three people without breaching even the recently reduced social distancing rules
  • We are already set up for remote working so there is no reason why the provision of written advice or drafting work need be placed on hold, and we fully support the use of telephone and/or video hearings where practicable
  • With the severely increased delays now endemic in the County Court you may wish to consider with your opponent whether to jointly instruct an experienced barrister to determine your case and abide by the result. Please see the separate News item Achieving Quicker Justice – Side-stepping the Courts (by consent) on the subject
  • Where physical attendance at court is essential for urgent cases – and Chelmsford, Cambridge and Norwich Crown and County Courts remain open for urgent business – then members will comply with HMCTS and other guidance on social distancing, etc. If you as a client are required to attend court, and there is no medical reason why you should not, then please bring your own bottled water with you as no carafes or plastic cups will be provided at court.

[revised 3rd July 2020]

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