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Our Response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated: Thursday 5 November at 10 am

The estate is currently closed to the general public. Residents & those who work on the estate can continue to gain access via their usual routes and methods but all other visitors must enter via the Gatehouse on the corner of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. A map is available here. Visitors are urged to implement social distancing.

We are proud of the professionalism and commitment all the Inn’s employees have shown and continue to show at this difficult time. In line with our values, we continue to look after our employees, whose dedication and loyalty we value highly.

In line with government guidance for employers and places of work, we have completed a full risk assessment of the Inn. Due to the multi-faceted nature of the Inn, there is more than one document; these are are available to download from this page.

We recognise this is a challenging time for our members.  We have produced a guide to wellbeing and information resources to assist our members in finding sources of information and support during the current pandemic.

The BSB has issued a statement and is regularly updating its FAQs: BSB Statement on COVID-19

The Bar Council is also collating updates of relevance to the profession: www.barcouncil.org.uk/useful-information/coronavirus-advice-and-updates.html

Information and support is available via the Bar Council’s Wellbeing at the Bar website.

Support for our members

The Inn is very aware of the potential impact of the pandemic on the profession and wants to support members through this period of difficulty.

Like everyone else, however, the Inn’s income is reduced and it needs to meet continued outgoings. We want to make sure that our help is directed where it is most needed – we will therefore expect people to access government and other support where it is available and we will need to be sure that when help is requested it relates to difficulty arising from the pandemic.

The Inn has allocated additional budget to both its support to the Barristers’ Benevolent Association (BBA) and to its own hardship fund which it aims to target to those in greatest need of support. The priority for the Inn’s hardship fund is likely to be recent tenants, pupils, and students.  Barristers who have held a brief should apply to the BBA fund.

To apply for the Barristers’ Benevolent Association fund please visit their website: www.the-bba.com/covid19-appeal-applications

To apply for the Inn’s COVID-19 Hardship Fund please download and complete the form and return it to Emma Jeffery.

The Inns have issued a joint press release on the support they are providing to the profession.

Treasury Office

The Treasury Office is operational, with staff working remotely, although our physical offices are still closed. For general enquiries, please email mail@lincolnsinn.org.uk or ring 0207 405 1393.

Your usual contacts within the Inn’s departments should also be contactable via their usual email addresses.

Events

In line with the latest government restrictions for England, from Thursday 5 November we will unable to host any events. The MCR Restaurant & Bar and Members’ Lunch in the Great Hall will also be temporarily suspended. If we are able to resume catering services at the beginning of December, it is our aim to do so.

Library

The Library is open to members of all four Inns of Court. Our opening hours are Monday – Thursday, 9 am – 7 pm and Friday 9 am – 6 pm. In addition, one Inn library is open on Saturdays in term time from 10 am – 5 pm.  Please see our Opening Hours page for more information.

Readers are asked to observe social distancing rules and other government guidance while using the Library.

Compulsory training for pupils and new practitioners

Our November Pupils course will now be taking place via Zoom but our February and March courses are expected to go ahead at Highgate House in Northampton. Our October New Practitioners course will take place remotely via Zoom.  We are keeping abreast of government guidance on the Covid-19 situation and all participants will be informed of any changes in advance.

There is a large backlog of people who need to complete the NPP course and we will prioritise those who most urgently need to complete.

Current students

Qualifying Sessions

All qualifying sessions for the Michaelmas term will be held remotely via video conferencing. We are delivering sessions in five formats: advocacy workshops, ethics workshops, webinar, seminar and legal research training. More information can be found on our Qualifying Sessions page.

Student members of the Inn are encouraged to take part in our Mooting and Debating Clubs, which will be held online. More information can be found on our Clubs & Competitions page.

Centralised Assessment Results

August Sitting Exam Results:
Criminal and Civil Litigation: Monday 12 October
Professional Ethics: Friday 6 November

October Sitting Exam Results:
Criminal and Civil Litigation: Friday 27 November
Professional Ethics: w/c Monday 18 January

Students who completed exams in both August and October will receive their best result on the October release dates. There will be another exam sitting in December.

Call to the Bar

The Inn is monitoring guidelines ahead of November Call, and details will be released on our Call to the Bar page when confirmed.  Although we wish to Call students in person, we will, of course, keep the format of these Call Days under review and may have to adjust plans in line with the government advice at the time.

Prospective students

Admissions

Admissions to the Inn will reopen on Monday 5 October, and close on Friday 13 November until early 2021. The procedure for this has changed considering the current circumstances.  All forms must be emailed in for approval first. Please do not post documents until you have submitted your documents electronically.  We are also accepting payment for the admission fee online. Please see Joining the Inn for details.

Commencing the Bar Course this year

So far, we have no reason to believe that students will not be able to commence the course in the autumn, although teaching may need to be online if restrictions remain in place.  Universities have moved teaching online and there is currently no suggestion that they will not be able to award law degrees.  Students are still required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) and all the test centres are currently closed. The BSB has announced that the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) will reopen for registrations before the start of June. This will also be available as a computer-based test that can be taken remotely.

Residents & tenants

Lincoln’s Inn is sensitive to the fact that Bar, commercial and residential tenants may be suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our objective is to provide effective financial assistance where it is most needed.  With that in mind, the Inn will consider applications for financial assistance in relation to rent, where tenants are facing real difficulty.

Residents, commercial and Bar tenants can apply to the Inn for financial assistance in confidence. Applications will be anonymised before being considered by a small dedicated panel of Benchers of the Inn.

For further information on the application and consideration process, please see the document ‘ Guidance on Applying for Rent Assistance’ which is available to download from this page.

The application forms for residents and Bar / commercial tenants are also available to download from this page. Completed applications should be emailed to: rentassistance@lincolnsinn.org.uk.

Parking

Parking has been restricted and is now only available to members or staff of chambers and residential tenants.  The Inn has suspended all parking charges during this period. The Gatehouse remains staffed 24 hours a day.

Chapel

Having resumed Sunday services at the start of October, wehave unfortunately had to close the Chapel and suspend services from Thursday 5 November, until at least Wednesday 2 December.

You can continue to maintain contact with the Chapel community through our Chapel Online videos.

The Preacher is always happy to provide a listening ear and pastoral support to members.  She can be contacted at Sheila.Watson@lincolnsinn.org.uk.

Gardens

The North Lawn and other open spaces around the Inn’s estate are still accessible to residents and tenants.  All those using the gardens must respect the government guidance on social distancing (keeping 2 metres apart) and only gather in household groups or as two individuals from different households.

Accommodation at the Inn

Our Members’ Accommodation remains open. Bookings can be made now through our Member Events team.

The estate and emergencies

The Estates Helpdesk is being staffed as normal 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, and essential works will be carried out as quickly as possible. Please contact the Estates Helpdesk on 0207 831 1839 or at Estateshelpdesk@lincolnsinn.org.uk.  Out of hours, enquiries should be directed to the Gatehouse on 020 7693 5190.