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COVID-19 Legal Hub

Together, we’re facing truly unprecedented times with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). With the situation changing daily, our solicitors remain dedicated to fighting for justice and providing you with up-to-date and practical legal knowledge. We’re regularly updating our dedicated COVID-19 Legal Hub with topical blogs and articles from our experienced legal teams. Be sure to check the page for regular updates and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The economic impact of Coronavirus represents an opportunity for fraudsters. Please be aware of scammers using the names of legal professionals in an attempt to make their communications appear legitimate – be extra vigilant! If you’re ever unsure or something doesn’t seem right, you would be wise to check with the organisation.

 

Chun Wong

Execution of documents during Covid-19

Posted on 1st July 2020

Legal documents generally require signatures to have binding effect, such as contracts/agreements, court documents, and deeds. There are also rules on how and who can execute certain types of legal documents. This has all come under the spot light recently with the difficulties posed by COVID-19, the lockdown and need for social distancing.

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Bharti Shah

Child Maintenance during Covid-19

Posted on 23rd June 2020

The furloughing scheme was introduced on 1 March 2020 and will end later this October. In reality this means that a lot of people who have been furloughed will be on a reduced income, some may have been made redundant in the interim or redundancy may be a real prospect facing some. How does this effect people who have been furloughed and use the Child Maintenance Scheme?

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Jocelyn Cockburn

The duty to investigate COVID-19 deaths in the UK care sector

Posted on 22nd June 2020

Despite the Chief Scientific Adviser reportedly warning3 the Government as early as January 2020 that the care sector in the UK was particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, it has been accused of -neglecting care homes and failing to promptly implement necessary measures. Many of the bereaved families of frontline workers and residents are now looking for answers as to how and why their loved ones were put at risk, despite the Government’s knowledge of the threat posed.

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Suzanne Bird

Evictions update - Practice Direction 51Z to be extended for a further 2 months until 23 August

Posted on 19th June 2020

On 5th June an announcement was welcomed by tenants across the UK, extending the stay of all possession proceedings against tenants or mortgagees for a further 2 months. The stay was initially to be lifted on 25 June, the approach of which was causing some concern to those who are living in unstable housing and housing practitioners alike.

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Susie Al-Qassab

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Flexible Furlough

Posted on 19th June 2020

The government has published its latest set of guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 12 June 2020. It has set out how flexible furlough will work, as well as the pathway to the phasing out of the scheme over the next few months. This blog summarises the key changes to the scheme.

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Sayeeda Choudhury

Have you been offered a Settlement Agreement as result of the Coronavirus?

Posted on 18th June 2020

Businesses and employers are adapting to a new way of working and many are faced with having to make difficult decisions to let employees go. As a result, we are seeing a significant rise in individuals being offered Settlement Agreements by employers.

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Susie Al-Qassab

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: What’s the status?

Posted on 9th June 2020

Following the scheme going live there have been some new announcements from the Chancellor, updated guidance and HMRC clarification on how the scheme can be accessed by those who are self-employed and have seen their livelihoods affected by the pandemic.This blog summaries the key developments to the scheme and clarifications over the last two months.

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Susie Al-Qassab

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: What’s the status?

Posted on 5th June 2020

Since then there have been some new announcements from the Chancellor, some updated guidance and a Second Treasury Direction from HMRC clarifying some of the details of the scheme and what is going to happen over the next couple of months.This blog summarises they key developments and clarifications over the last month.

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Riffat Yaqub

Support for children with brain injuries during Covid-19

Posted on 4th June 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed everybody’s life since lockdown came in to effect in March. People are working from home, children are being home-schooled, and movement has been severely restricted.

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Aneka Thirurajah

The impact of COVID-19 on inquests

Posted on 3rd June 2020

Many inquests, in common with many other types of hearings, have had to be adjourned as a result of COVID-19, particularly where a jury is involved. The Chief Coroner of England and Wales issued guidance to coroners, stating inquests which were due to begin between 31 March and 28 August 2020 and involved a jury had to be adjourned. Pre-inquest reviews are being adjourned too, meaning further delays are being caused to more complex cases.

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Bharti Shah

Phased opening of schools- What does it mean during these uncertain times?

Posted on 29th May 2020

As half term draws to an end, there will be many parents contemplating whether to send their children to school for the summer term. At present, if parents decide not to send their children to school, even if their year group are part of the Governments phased plans to return, they will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.

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Jack Crown

Practice Direction 51Z – The stay of possession proceedings expires on 25 June 2020

Posted on 28th May 2020

There is scope within the Direction for the stay to continue until 30 October 2020. It is perhaps unlikely that the stay will be extended all the way until then, this would be another five months and it is not apparent that deaths and infection risks due to COVID-19 will continue this late into the year. To prevent an unworkable backlog of cases it is likely that hearings will proceed remotely.

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Vanessa Friend

Managing as separated parents during Covid-19

Posted on 27th May 2020

Covid-19 presents challenges for all separated parents whether they were previously married or cohabiting. It may be particularly hard for unmarried parents, who have relied on informal agreements as to the care of the children. The key concerns for parents are likely to be a possible reduction in child maintenance due to a loss of income and managing the contact arrangements during lockdown.

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Alexander Panayi

The impact of Coronavirus on on tenants - is a suspension of rent required?

Posted on 26th May 2020

It is not clear at this stage whether the government will extend the 90 day suspension of possession claims, which is due to expire at the end of June 2020. What is clear is that during the period of lockdown many renters will have been put in a precarious and unstable position and rent arrears will have increased dramatically.

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Chun Wong

Subject Access Requests during Covid-19

Posted on 21st May 2020

As a result of GDPR, everyone has the right to ask any organisation whether or not they are storing any personal information. Issuing a Subject Access Request normally means the recipient has up to one (calendar) month to comply with the request.But what are the challenges for organisations seeking to comply with the normal rules during the global Covid-19 pandemic?

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Farzana Chowdhury

What can I do If my neighbours are not social distancing?

Posted on 19th May 2020

Since the lockdown, incidents of anti-social behaviour across the country have increased with reports of people flouting the social distancing rules. This has resulted in the police and social landlords being required to take action to enforce the regulations.

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Siddiq Fazaluddin

When should inspections in disrepair cases proceed in light of the COVID-19 lockdown?

Posted on 18th May 2020

Following the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, the government has released new guidelines relating to the way in which possession and disrepair cases need to be progressed.The focus of the changes are that landlords and tenants take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to resolving issues.

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Isobel Lovett

How COVID-19 is affecting asbestos-related disease sufferers

Posted on 13th May 2020

We look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting those with pre-existing or undiagnosed asbestos-related conditions.As the NHS is under intense pressure to treat patients affected by COVID-19, Cancer Research UK and other charities are highlighting the impact this pandemic is having on cancer diagnosis, treatment and other services.

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Sayeeda Choudhury

Coronavirus: making the workplace ‘COVID-19 secure’ for employees returning to work

Posted on 13th May 2020

Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday 10 May 2020, that workers and employees should return to work if they cannot work from home, there have been many questions on everyone’s mind. These include: ‘is it safe for me to return to work?’; ‘can my employer force me to return to work?’; ‘how do I avoid contracting the virus?’ and many more. Despite the published guidance many questions remain. Read our thoughts on some of those unanswered questions.

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Chun Wong

Special coronavirus specific advice has been issued for landlords.

Posted on 12th May 2020

Right to rent checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to make it easier for landlords to carry them out.

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Aneela Samrai

The importance of judicial review in protecting the rights of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on 11th May 2020

The Government is rapidly reforming its powers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and introducing, and subsequently updating, legislation and guidance aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. This is having serious implications for the rights of people with disabilities.

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Hermione Cox

Domestic abuse and COVID-19: Family courts deal with domestic abuse as a priority

Posted on 7th May 2020

Domestic abuse is dealt with by the courts in a number of ways. Under criminal law, perpetrators can be prosecuted for violent offences such as assault, battery or sexual offences, and since 2015 the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour.

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Lottie Baldwin

Unlawful evictions during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on 30th April 2020

In most cases, your landlord cannot evict you without first serving notice, obtaining a possession order form the court and obtaining a warrant for eviction. If a landlord excludes you from the property without having first gone through this necessary legal process, this is an Unlawful Eviction. This is set out by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 which applies to secure tenants, assured tenants, assured shorthold tenants and many of those with less secure tenancy agreements.

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Alice Hardy

Policing the coronavirus: protecting the collateral victims

Posted on 24th April 2020

The lockdown is a perfect storm for victims of domestic abuse: being in a confined space with an abuser, with the added pressure of financial worries, increases the risk of violence and makes it more difficult for victims to seek help.

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Katherine Brown

COVID-19: Possession Proceedings and New Practice Directions

Posted on 22nd April 2020

Tenants or home-owners who are unable to work during the pandemic potentially face the prospect that the non-payment of rental or mortgage repayments could warrant possession proceedings being brought by their landlord or mortgage lender. It is therefore welcomed that the Court has issued an additional Practice Direction to Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules, which deals with residential possession proceedings…

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Susie Al-Qassab

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Leave) – What You Need To Know! - Updated 21 April 2020

Posted on 21st April 2020

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced on 20 March 2020 to provide security for employees over the coming months in light of the current crisis. The scheme provides a mechanism that allows businesses to retain employees without the need for them to work and for those employees to still receive a minimum level of their salary. The scheme’s purpose is to reduce the amount of redundancies and avoid employees being laid off without pay.

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Megan Finnis

COVID-19: How The Global Pandemic Is Impacting Our Prison Population

Posted on 9th April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the UK government to rapidly introduce new legislation to curtail its spread. No. 10 have insisted that these measures are necessary to protect high risk and vulnerable people. However, some of the most vulnerable individuals in society seem to have been largely neglected from this discourse; those currently detained in prison.

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Sayeeda Choudhury

Government Support For The Self-Employed Impacted By Coronavirus - Updated 6 April 2020

Posted on 6th April 2020

In response to mounting and more vocal concern, the Government has announced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, a world leading scheme to assist millions of self-employed individuals in the UK. So what is the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme?

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Philip Unciano

COVID-19: Extreme Vulnerability For Asbestos Disease Sufferers

Posted on 5th April 2020

Our clients who are living with asbestos diseases fall into the category of people classed by the Government as “extremely vulnerable” and who are currently being shielded during the COVID-19 crisis. We understand that this is a very distressing time as they are having to make deeply personal decisions about whether or not to risk attending hospital to get the cancer treatment they so desperately need.

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Nicola Waldman

Demand For Wills Jumps 76% In Two Weeks Due To Coronavirus

Posted on 31st March 2020

As the UK begins to adjust to the “new normal” that we face amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are approaching their affairs with an increased sense of reflection and pragmatism. In the Wills and Probate sector, this has manifested itself in a significant increase in clients looking to update or create their will.

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Peter Todd

NICE Amends COVID-19 Critical Care Guideline After Judicial Review Challenge

Posted on 31st March 2020

A proposed judicial review challenge to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (‘NICE’) COVID-19 guideline for clinical care has secured important changes to protect the rights of people with autism, learning difficulties and mental disorders from unjustified discrimination in access to critical care during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Daniel Fitzpatrick

Coronavirus Act 2020: are renters really safe?

Posted on 31st March 2020

With comments from the Prime Minister in the House of Commons saying that they would be passing legislation to protect private renters during the Covid-19 epidemic you would hope that people could sleep easier in their beds at night during this national crisis.

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Homa Wilson

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ’s – For Employees

Posted on 26th March 2020

During these unprecedented times, there are a number of questions on every employee’s mind about what might happen to their employment in the coming weeks/months. Read our Employment team's COVID-19 FAQs for employees.

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Susie Al-Qassab

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ’s – For Businesses

Posted on 26th March 2020

As the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds, businesses across the UK are entering uncharted territory. From self-isolation to sick pay, read our Employment team's COVID-19 FAQs for businesses.

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Jack Williams

Keeping Calm & Carrying On: Wills & Probate Services During COVID-19

Posted on 26th March 2020

In these unprecedented times, the Private Client team here at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors wishes good health to everyone with the hope that life will return to normal as soon as possible. In the interim, we are very much still dedicated to helping those who require assistance, particularly those at risk who require assistance with their Will or Probate.

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Homa Wilson

Legal Guidance for people placed at risk of redundancy- Here’s what you need to know

Posted on 26th March 2020

It can be daunting to be told you are at risk of redundancy. In such circumstances, it is helpful to understand what your rights are, as well as, your employer’s obligations towards you.Redundancy can be a lawful reason to terminate someone’s employment. However, just because an employee is told she is being made redundant, does not mean that a dismissal resulting will be automatically lawful.

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Stuart Miles

How does a rent suspension clause work?

Posted on 26th March 2020

A lease or tenancy agreement may contain a clause which suspends the rent in the event that the property becomes uninhabitable. The clause may state that there should be a suspension of the whole of the rent, or sometimes part of the rent, subject to how much of the property is usable.

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Suzanne Bird

Self-isolation without a home – an impossible task

Posted on 26th March 2020

Whilst the Government continues to announce ever stricter measures for the UK’s population to help stop the catastrophic spread of the virus sweeping the globe, the consistent message to all has been to stay in our homes. This advice is impossible to follow for those who are homeless and sleeping rough, not to mention the estimated 70,400 people who are relying on friends and family to “sofa surf”. With households encouraged to stay indoors it can only be imagined the strain that these relationships are being put under.

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Bharti Shah

Coronavirus and children moving between separated parents’ homes

Posted on 25th March 2020

As much of the country finds itself under “lockdown”, after the Prime Minister announced strict measures for leaving home on 23 March 2020, what is the position with children from separated families moving between households?

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Chun Wong

Changes to Section 21 (Housing Act 1988) Notice from 1 June 2019 – Updated March 2020

Posted on 25th March 2020

A Section 21 (Housing Act 1988) Notice is the first step a landlord would take to gain back possession of a property. It is a written notice to terminate an Assured Shorthold Tenancy on a ‘no fault’ basis (without providing a reason for wishing to take possession). There are new requirements under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 which can be seen in recent post about legal guidance for landlords and tenants on the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

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Jacqueline Major

Increased pressure on family life and relationships

Posted on 18th March 2020

We are living in a situation caused by the Coronavirus which for the vast majority of the population is unprecedented. Most of us will never have experienced anything in our lifetimes equivalent to the effect this pandemic will have on our lives. This is a time of massive uncertainty, of global concern, and soaring rates of infection. Many people’s lives at risk. The virus has severely affected the economy, which in turn has affected the income of a lot of people, and in some cases put their livelihoods at risk.

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Chun Wong

Legal implications of the coronavirus

Posted on 11th March 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) originating from China on 31st December 2019 has now infected over 100,000 people in over 100 countries with nearly 31,500 deaths. As at 8th March there was over 250 reported and confirmed cases in the UK with 3 deaths. The risk level has been raised from low to moderate and the UK government produced an action plan on 3rd March 2020 to deal with the growing epidemic.

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