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Our Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated: Friday 22 May at 1 pm

Given the latest government advice, all Inn events scheduled to take place between now and the end of July have been cancelled. 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.

We recognise this is a challenging time for our members, particularly for those with training requirements – we are working with the BSB to formulate solutions as swiftly as possible and will provide more information as soon as we have it.  Please also refer to the BSB website for updates, as well as specific advice for Pupils, Pupillage Providers and Practitioners:

BSB Statement on COVID-19

BSB COVID-19 Student FAQs

BSB COVID-19 Pupillage FAQs

BSB COVID-19 CPD FAQs

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 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

As a matter of principle, the Inn closely follows government advice in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although formal confirmation has yet to be made about continuing ‘lockdown’ controls in June & July, this seems inevitable from recent comments made by the government and their advisors.  Regrettably, the Inn is therefore not in a position to hold any events for members or private clients during June & July 2020.

Please be aware that the Inn may not be in position to host booked events if government advice changes at short notice. We will be in touch with all our members and clients if the government policy changes, but in the meantime clients may wish to exercise their own judgement about whether to defer their event. Please contact our Events Team, should you wish to discuss the above or look into alternative arrangements.

Library

The Library is currently closed.  However, the Library team is maintaining the Library service as far as possible. Please email us with enquiries or document delivery requests and we will do our best to assist. Please go to Library Services and COVID-19 for more information.

Compulsory training for pupils and new practitioners

We have already completed the pupils’ courses for this academic year, although some Inns and Circuits still have courses scheduled for the spring and summer which they are planning to deliver online.  We cancelled our new practitioners’ course due to be held in May when we first entered lockdown.  We anticipate that restrictions will not be sufficiently lifted to allow our June course to go ahead as an in-person course.

We are in the process of setting up an online course instead to be held over a few dates in June. New practitioners who previously registered for our courses this year will be emailed about our online course.

Current students

Qualifying Sessions

We have cancelled all our in-person sessions for May and June.  We are replacing these with online sessions using video conferencing.  We are delivering sessions in three formats: advocacy workshops, ethics workshops, and panel sessions with breakout discussion groups.  We have 12 qualifying session events planned – three per week over four weeks from the week commencing 18 May.  We are intending to run some more sessions in July and will finalise the arrangements for these once we have held some of the initial sessions and have some feedback on anything that needs amending.  More information on this has been emailed to all current 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

We are still accepting and processing admissions but 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 the Joining the Inn section 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

The Chapel is now closed in the interests of public safety, and in company with other places of worship in London. No services will be held until further notice.

The Chapel team has been producing videos featuring music from our wonderful choir & Director of Music, as well as a ‘thought for the week’, until services are able to take place again. 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’s implementation of social distancing (keeping 2 metres apart) and for there to be no gatherings of more than two people (other than those who live in the same household).

Accommodation at the Inn

We regret that until further notice, we are unable to take bookings for our overnight accommodation.

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.