Legal Aid Agency, 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal Aid Agency contingency response' (18/3/20)
LAA coronavirus guidance This guidance, which will be continuously updated, has information under the following headings: (1) Our contingency plans; (2) Coronavirus health advice; (3) Financial support; (4) Our proportionate approach to contract management; (5) Reducing administrative activity for providers; (6) Office requirements; (7) Applications other than in person; (8) Assessing financial eligibility where a client cannot attend; (9) Duty solicitor absence; (10) Crime Telephone advice; (11) Stay up to date. The 24/3/20 version states: "In situations where it is not possible to get a client signature, digitally or otherwise, please make a note on the file explaining why, countersigned by a supervisor, and also make a note on the application/form when submitted to avoid delays or issues with processing. Please seek a signature at the earliest possible opportunity." The 27/3/20 version states: "Most Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) hearings will now be heard remotely. We can confirm the MHT Level 3 Fee will be payable where representation is carried out at a remote hearing intended to dispose of a case and would have ordinarily taken place in person." The 27/3/20 version (in relation to situations where a client's signature cannot be obtained) states: "For avoidance of doubt, supervisor signatures may also be provided digitally to enable effective remote supervision, as long as they are clearly related to the relevant file notes."