Legal and advice sector response on COVID-19 pandemic

The current public health crisis and global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event with both short and long-term consequences, including a wide range of social and legal issues for people in their everyday lives, and interventions by Governments. It also presents a huge challenge to advice and free legal services and support organisations.

LawWorks have been supporting and facilitating a wider roundtable forum with a range of legal and access to justice organisations to address issues, challenges and legal needs raised by the crisis. Around 40 people have taken part, including senior representatives from the Law Society, Bar Council, Collaborative Plan, Advice UK, the Law Centres Network, Citizens Advice, Age UK, Public Law Project, Legal Action Group, Legal Aid Practitioners Group, Advice Services Alliance, Shelter, Access to Justice Foundation, the Clinical Legal Education Organisation, London Legal Support Trust, and the Legal Education Foundation. The stated purpose and terms of reference for the group, are: 

  • to identify legal needs arising from the health crisis;
  • to monitor and review the impact for providers of legal information, support, advice and representation;
  • to consider responses and recommendations to help address the above needs, including and potential policy recommendations (to Government and others);
  • to inform and support the mobilisation and co-ordination of the advice sector, legal aid, charities, volunteer lawyers and legal professionals, for people with legal and advice needs;
  • as part of that mobilisation, to encourage sector-wide collaborations, initiatives and technology driven solutions - sharing information, resources and learning.

The full terms of reference and its subgroups can be found below.

The roundtable is led by a steering group meeting fortnightly; the steering group reviewed the terms of reference in autumn 2020 - whilst the overall aims and objectives remain the same, the focus going into 202I has shifted towards providing a standing forum for high level information exchange on these issues, concious that we do not duplicate but rather add value to what stakeholders at the roundtable are doing through their existing workstreams. In 2021 the Network for Justice took over the secretariat function.

Notes of the roundtables held so far are available to look at below

Resources and outputs from the subgroups or specfice workstreams are posted as they become available.

Subgroups and topics

For more information please contact James Sandbach.