Guildford Chambers response to COVID-19
Guildford Chambers continues to operate as usual and we will continue to do so taking into account government advice. Most of the barristers and clerks are working remotely so could you please ensure that all documents are sent electronically. Our building remains open during our normal operating hours.
Conferences and court hearings can be held via telephone, or by video conference with either Zoom, Lifesize or Microsoft Teams/Skype.
Procedures have been put in place to ensure calls will be answered by our clerking team on our usual number 01483 539131. However, in case of emergency mobile phone numbers of our clerks are:
Simon Morris, Senior Clerk: 07779 605502 Gavin Street, First Junior Clerk: 07780 994271
By putting in place these contingency measures we intend to continue offering as normal a service as possible throughout the duration of this unprecedented pandemic; and by working together we are confident we can find solutions to any problems arising, thereby reducing as far as possible any impact on our professional and lay clients and minimising risks to health.
Covid-19 Guidance and Practice Directions
Microsoft Teams/Skype for Business
As part of Guildford Chambers’ continuing commitment to overcome the challenges presented by the present situation, we can confirm that we have the Microsoft Teams Professional software fully operational both for court hearings and conferences. This platform is fully GDPR compliant.
Joining a remote court hearing or conference, whether as a solicitor, lay client, barrister or as a Judge, is very simple: You simply ‘click on a link’. There is no need to subscribe to any software or download any ‘app’. We simply email a link to participants, and with one click each participant can join the video conference or hearing.
Crucially, Microsoft Teams Professional can easily be accessed by the professional judiciary, as it can be accessed directly using ‘Skype for Business’. Again, all the judge has to do is click on a link which will be emailed to him/her in advance of the hearing.
As participants simply click on a link to join the hearing/conference, the system does not require any special software beyond simple access to the internet, a camera and a microphone (which are built into every smart phone and ipad/tablet, as well as most laptops and PCs).
All hearings dealt with through our system are fully recordable if required (or in the case of court hearings, permitted), and electronic files of recording are available immediately.
All members of Chambers are also able to use Zoom for conferences or remote hearings (where permitted)
Many members of Guildford Chambers were already working electronically and so already have considerable experience in working with e-bundles. If you require any assistance in producing such bundles please do not hesitate in contacting the clerking team.