McMillans Solicitors – Coronavirus Update 25/3/20
We want to reassure all our clients that we remain open for business and fully staffed (with most staff working remotely in accordance with government guidelines) and we are able to continue to speak with current clients (and prospective new clients) on the telephone anytime and deal with any queries.
We are continuing to work on all our client’s cases in the same diligent and determined way as before the Coronavirus crisis and will do everything necessary to prepare cases for the next stage of your case – whether that be a police interview, first court appearance or trial at the Crown Court.
However having regard to the latest government advice on social distancing and unnecessary travel we have decided in all cases we will no longer offer face to face meetings (unless an exceptional reason exists and it is safe to do so) and instead we shall be conducting pre arranged remote Zoom video meetings / conferences wherever possible.
We have found the Zoom platform excellent for seeing clients and witnesses remotely as it also allows screen sharing, viewing of evidence etc. You do not need to have a Zoom account although you will need to download the Zoom App on your computer or mobile device. Information in relation to Zoom meetings can be found at https://zoom.us/resources
We fully understand that you will likely be very anxious as to what will be happening in relation to your case and whether your court appearance or police interview will now be taking place or will be adjourned or put off to a later date.
Unfortunately, the situation and guidance appears to be changing by the day and is very confused. At present, the guidance states that no new Crown Court trial dates should be set and that other hearings should not take place unless it is safe to do so, having regard to the ability to social distance within the court building and /or the availability of video / remote hearings. As such, as things stand you will need to attend unless advised not to.
The same considerations apply to the magistrate’s court and today the guidance is essentially that only essential hearings should take place e.g. custody cases; however as things stand if you have a magistrates court hearing, you will need to attend unless advised otherwise. Similarly if you are due to attend the police station for a bail to return you will need to attend unless the police tell us not to.
We would anticipate that many, if not all hearings at court (and police interviews) will not be able to go ahead until the Coronavirus crisis abates. However please do not simply assume that this will be the case and just not turn up to court or the police station as a warrant may well be issued for your arrest!
Please rest assured we will keep you updated as to how all of this affects your case and if you are required to attend for a hearing or interview we will ensure that a lawyer from our firm will attend with you.
Obviously if you become unwell and / or are required to self-isolate you would not have to attend court or the police station as long as you advise us immediately of this.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will update the website accordingly. Additional updates can be found at https://crimeline.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-courts-and-tribunals-planning-and-preparation/
Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions about any of the above.