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The new national lockdown came into force in England at 12.01am on Thursday 5 November and will last until at least Wednesday 2 December.
The government has now published the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No 4) Regulations 2020.
In Wales, the national ‘firebreak’ lockdown has concluded. Check the Welsh government’s guidance.
What are the new restrictions in England?
The most relevant points for solicitors include:
- fulfilling a legal obligation – under part 6, clause 4 of the regulations, it’s acceptable for a person to leave home “to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings“
- going to work – everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where it’s not reasonably possible, people should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace, which is allowed under part 6, clause 4 of the regulations
- international travel – outbound international travel and overnight stays away from home are to be banned, unless for work purposes. If people must travel, they should follow the quarantine guidelines and relevant travel corridor restrictions
- courts – courts will remain open unless otherwise stated
- education – childcare, schools, colleges and universities will remain open and the prime minister stressed school is the best place for children to be
- vulnerable people – clinically vulnerable people have been asked to follow the restrictions closely as far as possible
- property market remains open – the regulations allow people to leave home under part 6, exception 2.g for the purposes of conducting the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property:
- visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes
- viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent
- preparing a residential property to move in
- moving house
- visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property
- key workers – the definition of ‘key workers’ will be the same as it was in the first lockdown and will therefore cover solicitors if they fall within these categories:
- advocates (including solicitor advocates) required to appear before a court or tribunal (remotely or in person), including prosecutors
- other legal practitioners required to support the administration of justice including duty solicitors (police station and court) and barristers, solicitors, legal executives, paralegals and others who work on imminent or ongoing court or tribunal hearings
- solicitors acting in connection with the execution of wills
- solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty
See the full details on the restrictions on the GOV.UK website