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Committee hears from legal sector representative bodies on COVID-19's impact on courts

7 July 2020

The Constitution Committee holds its ninth evidence session on its inquiry into the constitutional implications of COVID-19. The Committee hears from representatives from the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Criminal Bar Association.

Background

The Committee’s inquiry was launched to consider the significant constitutional implications of the pandemic and the Government’s response to it. This includes the ability of Parliament to hold the Government to account, scrutiny of emergency powers and the operation of the courts.

Witnesses

Wednesday 9 July at 3.00pm

  • Simon Davis, President, Law Society
  • Caroline Goodwin QC, Chair, Criminal Bar Association
  • Derek Sweeting QC, Vice-Chair, Bar Council

Possible questions

  • What challenges are law firms and legal professionals facing during the pandemic?
  • What improvements are needed to data collection in the courts and tribunal system to understand the challenge of COVID-19 and respond appropriately? Is the provision of case listing information timely and accurate?
  • How feasible is the proposition of 'pop-up' courts to address the backlog and have you been consulted on such a proposal? What issues would need to be considered beyond finding the physical spaces?
  • What are the issues for running trials – particularly jury trials – while maintaining social distancing? What pressures will this put on the system?

Further information