Lord Chief Justice says coronavirus will impact the operation of courts
The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary (CTJ) has released an update from the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is ‘of vital importance’ that the administration of justice continues, although it is not realistic that business as usual will continue. There is an urgent need to increase the number of hearings over phone and video, while the Civil Procedures Rules and Family Procedures Rules provide considerable flexibility.
Emergency legislation will be drafted, and this will likely include expanded powers in the criminal courts to use technology in a greater range of hearings.
The immediate aim of the CTJ will be to continue serving the public and ensuring continuity for urgent matters.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service has also updated its coronavirus guidance to reflect jury service guidance.
So, how will this affect Argo.
Wills: There should be no impact as a result of coronavirus unless the will is being made through the Court of Protection as a statutory will
Lasting Powers of Attorney: It is likely we will see delay in registering lasting powers of attorney as staff members at the Office of the Public Guardian are advised not to go into work or self isolate. As we are made aware of issues you will be too!
Court of Protection: It is likely we will see delay in applications with the Court of Protection as staff members are advised not to go into work or self isolate. We are already aware that two members of the Court of Protection Judiciary are self isolating. However, the Court are trialing some urgent hearings by skype where individuals lacking capacity need to attend.
Estate administration: It is likely that the Probate Registry will be affected which will cause a delay in issuing of Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration. Rather than post applications we are able to submit our applications online. We will be testing this in the next two weeks to see if this cuts down on time delays.
We are continuing to operate a fully functioning service for our clients and will continue to do what we has to be done to make sure your case progresses as it should. We are carrying our a strategic risk assessment of all clients and work we are conducting on their behalf to see how coronavirus could affect progression of their case.
We still have multiple methods of contact into the office so just call us if you need us.