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Last updateMon, 15 Jun 2020 11am

Legal sector carries on as 'new normal' during coronavirus pandemic

Since the last issue of Your Expert Witness, when we were in limbo as to where the coronavirus outbreak was going, the COVID-19 crisis has infiltrated all aspects of life – including in the legal sector. It did not take long for the Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to suspend all but the most urgent of hearings, before devising ways of carrying out more routine hearings.


Solidarity breaks out over NHS Long Term Plan

Following the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan the government and GPs agreed a new contract, which involves a number of substantial changes. One of the mainstays – designed to allow the plan to be realised – is the introduction of an army of medical professionals other than doctors to work within practices and act as first point of contact for patients needing their particular skills.

That includes thousands of physiotherapists who will deal with patients presenting with musculoskeletal problems, which currently account for around one fifth of GP appointments. The idea is it will free up GPs to deal with problems requiring their generalist skills. It is also expected to substantially reduce the number of secondary referrals to physiotherapists by GPs.

Scotland’s lawyers celebrate platinum

This year sees the 70th anniversary of The Law Society of Scotland. Given that the legal systems in Scotland and England have been famously different for centuries, it seems perverse that the country’s lawyers only acquired their own representative body less than one of those centuries ago. In fact the principal was established in 1933, but the little matter of World War Two got in the way of its implementation.

Nevertheless, a platinum anniversary is something to be celebrated and Scotland’s advocates are determined to do just that: especially as it coincides with the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which paved the way for women to become solicitors for the first time.

Concerns mount over new terrorism legislation

The Law Society is one of many august organisations throwing up their hands in horror at some of the implications of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which recently passed through its second reading in the Commons.

A rash of new measures throw a wide net around a large group of people without seeming to ask the question of whether they have actually done anything wrong. And having apprehended those people, the Bill seems to set no limits on the sanctions that can be imposed on them.

The Bill has been described as ‘Orwellian’ by some and bordering on ‘thought crime’ by the UN.