Lawyers coming back from holiday can break quarantine to attend court and tribunal hearings in England and Wales in person, according to an announcement by the Bar Council of England and Wales.
In an email seen by the Gazette of England and Wales, chair of the Bar Council Amanda Pinto QC told members that “after significant lobbying” the Department for Transport had confirmed that barristers returning from non-exempt countries – and who, therefore, have to self-isolate for 14 days – can break quarantine to attend a court or tribunal hearing.
They then have to continue to self-isolate for the remainder of the 14-day period.
Exemption includes clients
The exemption applies to anyone who needs to participate in a hearing – including clients – and does not require any additional paperwork, Pinto said.
“This accommodation follows our ongoing pressure on the government to value the functioning of the justice system and the daily work of the bar through COVID-19,” she said. “It’s good to know we are now in league with Formula 1 mechanics and astronauts,” she added.
The news follows the removal of a number of countries, including France and the Netherlands, from England’s ‘travel corridor’ list last week.