Law under lockdown: top Law Society recommendations

 

In September 2020 the Law Society published a new report called: ‘The impact of COVID-19 measures on access to justice and vulnerable people.’

The family law solicitors that we work with have been doing an amazing job in supporting their clients through unprecedented times, and we admire the resilience and care that they show every day. Nevertheless, there is no denying that the pandemic has had a negative impact on vulnerable people going through litigation.

The Law Society survey shows that a mere 16% of solicitors indicated that vulnerable clients were able to effectively participate in remote hearings.

Here are some of the Law Society’s recommendations that are most relevant to the family law practitioners:

  1. The MoJ should move forward with its early advice pilot and improve access to legal aid to ensure hearings are more efficient and that parties are aware of alternative means of dispute resolution.
  2. HMCTS should publish a framework of factors to be taken into consideration when deciding which hearings can proceed remotely and publish an equality impact assessment of this.
  3. The UK Government should reinstate nonmeans tested legal aid for victims of domestic abuse.
  4. The UK Government should consider allowing solicitors to certify that an individual is a victim of domestic abuse for the purposes of obtaining legal aid.
  5. The UK Government should seek to ensure adequate funding for services to support victims and survivors of abuse as the COVID-19 crisis continues and into the future.

Our team at Level supports these recommendations and agree that it’s imperative to maintain access to justice in times of crisis, and beyond.

You can read the full report here.