Solicitors helping to keep the justice system running will be able to get tested for Covid-19, the Law Society has said.
The government had already prioritised courts and tribunals staff, and the judiciary for testing. This has now been extended to legal practitioners ‘essential to the running of the justice system’. The Department of Health and Social Care says its lists of essential workers and those prioritised for testing applies to England. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own criteria.
Employers registering on the testing portal should indicate that they have essential staff as employees who are working with the Ministry of Justice to support the delivery of the justice system.
Chancery Lane has sought to clarify which solicitors fall within the 'key worker' category. They are:
- 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; and
- Solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty.
The Society said some solicitors will occasionally fall into the 'key worker' category because they need to provide advice or attend a hearing for an urgent matter, such as the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults. However, they will only be classified as a key worker for the time they are delivering that work.
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.