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The Effect of COVID-19 to Dispute Resolution

25.03.2020 Dispute resolution

Charlotte Dawes

Charlotte Dawes Associate

As I continue to follow updates, news broadcasts, and press conferences whilst working from home, it strikes me how difficult it is to absorb all of the new, and ever changing information being provided to us. These changes are having a huge impact on society as a whole and we have to adjust.

These changes extend to the legal profession, our judiciary, and Court and Tribunal system.

In an unprecedented environment, whilst the Court system seeks to comply with its obligation to continue its vital service, there has been recognition that sustainability of the administration of justice during the course of a pandemic will not simply be “business as usual”, particularly in relation to both the willingness and ability to attend Court.

The Lord Chief Justice’s guidance issued on 19th March makes it clear that remote hearings i.e. (Court hearings taking place via telephone and/or video link) are now the default position. In fact, the Supreme Court have announced that it will conduct all of its business remotely.

Whilst government guidance and advice is constantly evolving, some clarity has been provided in relation to Dispute Resolution within the Coronavirus Bill, which is passing through the House of Lords at present and is expected to receive Royal Assent as the Coronavirus Act 2020 by the end of the month. 

The effect of the provisions of the “Coronavirus Bill” (provided enacted in its current form), to Dispute Resolution will include;

  • An expansion on the availability of video and audio technology, including remote hearings;
  • Precluding forfeiture of Business Tenancies until 30 June 2020 (or such later date as may be specified);
  • The rules regarding eviction of Residential Tenants is varied until 30 September 2020 (or such later date as may be specified).

The situation will undoubtedly continue to change as we get to grips with the impact of a national situation not experienced in the UK for over seventy years. 

Ince wants to and is able to support you and your business through this uncertain time. 
Should you require assistance during this period or advice on how the contents of the Coronavirus Bill may affect you, please contact the Dispute Resolution Department on 029 2010 0950 or by email to Charlottedawes@incegd.com.

Article authors:

Charlotte Dawes