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Our Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated: Wednesday 2 September at 5 pm

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

Our team is working diligently to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our visitors.

Clear signage and guidance has been placed around the estate and is evident at entrances when you visit. We kindly ask all members and guests to abide by these measures.

Covid-secure procedures and practices are in place across all our catered venues and work areas. Risk assessments have been completed and are updated weekly, and all necessary adjustments and controls have been implemented. The Inn remains focused on offering guests an enjoyable experience with us, while ensuring their safety and the safety of our employees.

We will continue to monitor government guidance and review our controls and communications accordingly.

Library

The Library is open to members of the four Inns of Court Monday – Friday, 9.30 am – 5.30 pm.   Evening opening will resume on Monday 28 September.

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

Compulsory training for pupils and new practitioners

Our three Pupils advocacy courses are currently expected to go ahead as residential weekends in Highgate House in Northampton. These are taking place in November 2020 and February and March 2021.  Our October New Practitioners course will take place and the format (remote or residential) will be confirmed in early September.  We are keeping abreast of government guidance on the Covid19 situation and all participants will be informed of any changes in advance.

New practitioners who previously registered for our courses this year will be emailed about places in mid-September. There is a large backlog of people who need to complete the course and we will prioritise those who most urgently need to complete the course.

Current students

Qualifying Sessions

We have cancelled all our in-person sessions for May to July.  We are replacing these with online sessions using video conferencing.  We are delivering sessions in four formats: advocacy workshops, ethics workshops, case analysis workshops and panel sessions with breakout discussion groups.  We have 6 more online qualifying session events planned from the week commencing 6 July. More information on this will be emailed to all current BPTC students and is on our Qualifying Sessions page.

BPTC Teaching and Exams

As far as we know all the BPTC Providers are holding classes online and will be holding their assessments online.  The BSB cancelled the April sit of the centrally set exams (criminal litigation, civil litigation, and professional ethics).  All students will be entered for the next scheduled sit in August.  The BSB has announced plans for holding the August sits online and for those with pupillage to start before receiving their BPTC result.

Call to the Bar

As current students will not complete their exams until August, the earliest that we’ll be able to Call any current student is November.  We have scheduled a third Call Day for November in preparation for higher numbers needing to be Called at this point.  We have kept one day each for the July and October Calls in the diary so that we can Call any students from previous years and transferring lawyers.  However 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

We are pleased to confirm that services in Chapel will recommence from Sunday 4 October 2020. There will be new elements with social distancing and other safety measures in place. Please see the Chapel page for further details.

Over the last few months, the Chapel team has been producing videos featuring music from our wonderful choir & Director of Music, as well as a ‘thought for the week’. Links to some of our recent videos are below.

Sunday 10 May – VE Day

Sunday 3 May

Sunday 26 April

Sunday 5 April – Easter Sunday

If you would like to be kept up to date and join the Chapel Online mailing list, please email Aleksandra Tomaszewska and we will be happy to send you our future materials as they are published.

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 for people to gather in groups of no more than six, from six households.

Accommodation at the Inn

Our Members’ Accommodation will reopen on Monday 7 September. 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.