Weekly Update from Law Society London & SE Relationship Management Team – 22nd May, 2020

22nd May 2020

Dear Member,

The London & South East Relationship Management team are keen to ensure that key updates and information of relevance are communicated to you, and your local law society, periodically.

Please feel free to share the information below more widely with your committees and your membership.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pages

We know members will have questions about the implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) for their clients, their businesses, their professional obligations, their own wellbeing and that of their employees.

In response to questions from our members, our latest advice for firms is listed on our designated Covid-19 page. This information will be updated regularly to reflect the most recent guidance.
As well as updates and advice, we’re influencing government, regulators and other stakeholders on behalf of our members.

To stay up to date on the impact on the sector and our latest support, please keep checking our website, subscribe to our Gazette Daily News Update, check the latest coronavirus news from the Gazette, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our weekly Professional Update email newsletter. Firms should also sign up to receive government email alerts to ensure they are acting on the latest information. Please also consider following The Law Society on LinkedIn, if you aren’t already, as all updates are communicated via that account in real time.

HMCTS also offer a daily operational update: Read more and sign up here

Please get in touch to share any concerns you have relating to coronavirus and your business and the practice of law. Your feedback is essential in order for us to keep our guidance as up-to-date and relevant as possible. Contact beth.quinn@lawsociety.org.uk

Business support measures for small firms

We have produced a tool that summarises the business support measures available to small firms during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please click here to see the infographic on our website.

Mental Health Awareness Week: Law Society resources

Promoting and supporting good mental health and wellbeing for solicitors is a key priority for the Law Society. We’re aware that the coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing measures are having a significant impact on the profession. We’ve put together a set of resources to help you and your teams- you can view these here

We have also released a podcast called ‘mental health and wellbeing: Take control’. In it, we interview David Beeney, mental health counsellor and founder of Breaking the Silence, who shares his personal battle with mental health and how he tackles his own anxiety.

Hear of the impact coronavirus could have on solicitors and tips on how you should be protecting your mental health during this pandemic. Understand how to deal with heightened anxiety and stress to help you cope with challenging situations so that you feel less anxious and more in control- Listen now.

Lexis Nexis protocol for virtual statutory declarations

Statutory declarations are a necessary part of insolvency proceedings, most commonly where a company enters members’ voluntary liquidation (MVL) and where a company enters administration by an out of court appointment.

The following protocol is reproduced by the Law Society with permission from Lexis Nexis and has been produced in partnership between Helen Coverdale of LexisPSL Restructuring & Insolvency and Phillip Patterson of Hardwicke Chambers.

Read the protocol on our website

‘Future Fund’ loan scheme: acting for the investee company – SRA Q&A

Please see the SRA website here, under ‘Future Fund’ loan scheme
https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/coronavirus-qa/

Invitation: Cloud Video Platform training

You are invited to take part in a Cloud Video Platform (CVP) training session hosted by HMCTS for the Law Society on Wednesday 27 May, 16:30–17:30.

As part of HMCTS’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic some hearings will be heard remotely using CVP. This session is to help you understand how CVP works and what to expect on the hearing day if the Judge has decided for a case to be heard via this platform.

The session has a maximum capacity of 100 people, however a recording of the demo will be published afterwards.

There is no registration process and for information on how to join the training session at 4.30pm on Wednesday 27 May use the following link: https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/stories/cloud-video-training-session-27-may/

You can also read about the platform and read about the rollout plans on the Government’s website.

Resumption of Jury trials

Four Crown Courts, including the Central Criminal Court in London, have been assessed as currently suitable to hold jury trials and will begin to do so this week. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the safety of all who use the court and tribunal buildings has been a key priority for the Law Society.

We would encourage practitioners to report any poor practice they see on the ground via this reporting form.

Read the full summary here.

Civil Litigation Section: Spring Conference webinars

Have you booked your place on our Civil Litigation Section spring conference webinars? You will learn about recent decisions in relation to Part 36, key recommendations included in the Witness Evidence Working Group Report and updates from the SRA  webinars Tues 26 to Thurs 28 May 14:00-15:00 daily.

The events are inclusive to Civil Litigation Section members and £45 each for non-members.
https://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/civil-litigation/events/spring-conference-2020

Open Consultations

Preventing Abuse of R&D Tax Relief for SMEs- second consultation – closing date for responses 24 May 2020
Link to consultation
Policy Advisor: James.Reynolds@LawSociety.org.uk

Research and Development (R&D) tax reliefs, including the small or medium sized enterprise (SME) scheme, support businesses to invest and are a core part of the government’s support for innovation. To prevent abuse of the SME scheme, Budget 2018 announced that the amount of payable tax credit a qualifying loss-making business can receive would be capped at three times the company’s total PAYE and NICs liability for that year.

Budget 2020 announced the introduction of the cap would be delayed until 1 April 2021, in order to consult on changes to the design of the measure. The government welcomes responses and input from businesses and their representatives currently claiming or planning to claim the payable tax credit

Ongoing competence – closing date extended to 6 June 2020
Link to call for evidence
Policy Lead: Chenab.Mangat@lawsociety.org.uk

The Legal Services Board (LSB) is reviewing how legal regulators ensure that the legal professionals they regulate remain competent throughout their careers.

This Call for Evidence is the first stage of this work to look at ongoing competence from an evidence-based position to determine whether the current system is sufficient. The LSB is engaging with stakeholders and will review information, then determine next steps.

The call for evidence requests information on the following 4 key areas, identified by their earlier work in this area:

  • Defining competence and competence assurance
  • Consumer expectations of competence
  • Competence assurance in the legal services sector
  • Competence assurance in other sectors

The Education and Training Committee will lead on the response.

Revisions to the Attorney General’s Guidance on disclosure and the CPIA Code of Practice – closing date extended to 22 July 2020
Link to consultation
Policy Lead: Janet.Arkinstall@lawsociety.org.uk

The Attorney General’s Office is consulting on changes to the guidelines and Code of Practice for disclosure.

If you have any questions in relation to any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us at London&SouthEastTeam@lawsociety.org.uk

Best