These last few months have challenged many of our working norms.  Working practices have altered everywhere.  Some changes are welcome such as the increased awareness that paperless working works.  Some are less so – we all miss our morning coffee and catch ups with colleagues.  For debt recovery lawyers, it’s not all bad though.  Remote working has given impetus to changes already underway across the sector.  The electronic lodging and intimating of documents had already begun but was piece meal and inconsistent.  Now it is used universally, speeding up the litigation process and cutting down the costs of paper and postage. The majority of court hearings now take place by way of scheduled Conference calls. There have been few problems encountered with them so far. They reduce the time spent up at Court, sitting waiting for your case to call, which again brings costs saving.

As practices develop, further refinements are inevitable.  All but essential civil court hearings will take place by conference calls for the foreseeable future. There will be greater emphasis on written submissions and on judicial case management.  There is a down side though which the profession will have to address in due course.  Being in court provides junior solicitors with essential advocacy and commercial skills, which they develop to the benefit of their clients and their employers.  How do we pass that knowledge and expertise on in a virtual environment? How do we train them to think on their feet, under pressure? These will be part of the longer term challenges presented by Covid, which we may have to grapple with long after we’ve got used once again to the daily commute and our morning coffees.

The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.

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