The most recent direction from the Director of Health relating to the north west has been published. The direction states that retail or commercial premises or services must not operate unless provided remotely by electronic means. However the direction does not apply to a number of premises and services including offices being used to provide legal services, but only for the purposes of –
(A) Enabling staff to access information and documents necessary to provide legal services remotely, or by electronic means, at another premises; or
(B) Enabling legal practitioners to meet with clients if those meetings are unable to be performed remotely or through electronic means;
As it stands, a law practice’s premises can operate only for the above two reasons.
The terms of the direction are more restrictive than the Society was told would be the case. The matter has been taken up with the Department of Justice and practitioners will be advised of developments. Work is being done on contingency plans should the position not change.