The government has acknowledged that it is vital to keep the justice system running throughout Covid-19.
Below, we take a look at those who have been labelled key workers, who will be essential to running the justice system, announced by the Law Society.
The Ministry of Justice has now issued further guidance on which legal practitioners come within this limited category of key workers:
“The government has confirmed that key workers include those ‘essential to the running of the justice system’. On Friday, the Ministry of Justice shared a list of key workers within this category.
We would like to provide further clarification of those legal practitioners covered within this category who are essential to the running of the justice system, and, in particular, the courts and tribunals:
- advocates (including solicitor advocates) required to appear before a court or tribunal (remotely or in person), including prosecutors
- other legal practitioners required to support the administration of justice including duty solicitors (police station and court) and barristers, solicitors, legal executives, paralegals and others who work on imminent or ongoing court or tribunal hearings
- solicitors acting in connection with the execution of wills
- solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty
Only legal practitioners who work on the types of matters, cases and hearings listed above, will be permitted to be classified as a key worker.
In addition, some legal practitioners will intermittently fall into this category because they need to provide advice or attend a hearing for an urgent matter relating, for example, the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults, or a public safety matter. For the limited time required to deliver this work, a legal practitioner will be a key worker.”
In a statement Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the Bar Council, said: “Barristers should decide for themselves whether they fall within the category of key worker and, if so, whether they can nevertheless keep their children at home or need to send them to school.”
The closure of schools was enforced to keep everyone safe. Asking the school to look after your children should be an exceptional step.
Solicitors will need to decide responsibly whether they fall into the above list, while also considering the overriding objective of keeping children at home where possible.