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Will The Virus Stop You Achieving Justice?

Posted: Tuesday, 14 April 2020 @ 09:09

With the country, businesses and individuals trying to come to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic, what are the options for obtaining justice via instructing lawyers or dealing with the Courts?  

At least 50% of UK Courts are shut and all trying to manage social distancing laws but this does not necessarily mean the end of civilisation and there are things one can do to achieve justice including:

1 Recognise Your Powerlessness About The Overall Position.  Recently I was talking to an experienced mediator friend and his (wise) advice to deal with this situation was to apply the Serenity Prayer namely "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can. And wisdom to know the difference."  This helps develop composure about the position. For all of us, having a sound mindset is really important during these times.    

2 Be Proactive. Apply The First Habit of Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People namely you have the freedom to focus on your circle of influence. Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, you focus your time and energy on things you can control. Thus proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. As Covey observes "Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies is a giant step in becoming proactive."

3 Assess How Effective The Courts Are. One of the problems we face is a media/social media who sensationalise the position and may make things worse. From experience Courts staff are still working and some are still operating very efficiently.  Court applications are still being made to Judges and hearings are going ahead via Skye and the telephone. I recently called up the Royal Courts Of Justice and got through in a quicker time than in normal times. Life is still going on.

4 Make Targeted Legal Action. The virus does change things but essentially what we are doing is going through a process of trial and error, doing targeted legal action and seeing what works. Certain legal actions are going to do fine in a social distancing environment such as as paper hearings or telephone hearings. Explore other methods of taking legal action if a Court is subjecting your Court action to delay namely a different form of legal action or mediation or early neutral evaluation.  

5 Evaluate What Is Working - In a fast moving situation it is very important to check what is working and what is not. Thus by constantly dealing with the Courts I am assessing what are the most effective ways to achieve justice for my clients. If one method does not work, we use another.