Working Arrangements During Covid-19 Emergency

We hope that you are managing to stay safe and sane during this extraordinary time.  As we write this to update you on how we are working during this period, the country is in effective lockdown and we are doing everything we can to follow the advice and direction coming from our excellent health experts and the government.

The most important message is to stay at home.  We know it is boring and frustrating, but it is important and you are helping to save lives by doing so.

Continuing to provide legal services through remote working

Legal services were designated as essential services by the government in the context of the current restrictions. This means we can continue to operate to provide essential legal services.  We continue to do so in so far so we can while maintaining the safety of our team and our clients.

Accordingly, for the time being, our offices are closed to the public and most of our team are working remotely, wherever possible. Some of the things that we do cannot be done remotely, for instance, incoming and outgoing post has to be handled physically in the office.  We have a core of essential team members who work behind closed doors maintaining social distancing to support the majority of the remainder of our team working remotely.

Ready and able to take care of your legal business

Our systems are entirely cloud-based and this means that we can continue to do most of what we need to do for you uninterrupted.  Our business model has been almost entirely online now for many years and most of our clients never have to physically call the office at all.  We deal with almost everything remotely via phone, video conference and post. So, the message is, we are here for you and ready and able to continue to take care of your important legal business for you.

It is also important to remember that, even though the country is observing extraordinary restrictions on movement and normal life in the interests of the greater good, time continues to run on critical legal time limits.

At the time of writing, the time periods provided for in the Statute of Limitations continue to run and, therefore, despite the fact that we are effectively in lockdown, if you have a personal injury or medical negligence claim that you are considering investigating, it could become statute-barred (i.e. your claim could lapse entirely) during this period if you do not issue proceedings within two years from the date of the incident.

Similarly, if you have experienced circumstances giving rise to a claim you are obliged to notify the other party or parties responsible in writing within one month of the events giving rise to the incident.  This strict one-month time limit continues to run while we are in lockdown so you should not hold off on investigating a claim just because you’re stuck at home.

Call us and we can get all of the information that we need from you over the phone or via video call and, if it is something we can help you with, we will be able to take care of everything for you remotely without you having to be able to travel to our offices.

However, please bear in mind that some things are much more difficult now during this period of restricted movements.  Many State and Court offices are closed and therefore, it is much slower and more difficult to move some matters forward where it is still possible to do so.  Urgent proceedings, such as those that might be required if the Statute of Limitations is about to expire, can still be issued, but it is a lot trickier and more difficult to arrange than in normal circumstances.

So, the point to remember here is don’t ever leave it to the last minute, especially now.  If you’re uncertain as to whether you can or should do something about a potential claim, call us now on 023 888 000 88 and we will go through everything with you to put your mind at rest.

Wills & Probate

Wills are a similarly essential service that needs to be attended to for our clients in the current crisis.  A will is not something that can be done retrospectively and unless a will is made properly it is of no effect, no matter what the wishes or intentions of the person wanting to make the will.  A will must be physically witnessed by two independent witnesses who cannot be beneficiaries in the will.  This obviously creates challenges in the context of social distancing, but it can be done safely and we are continuing to do so for our clients.  Arrangements can also be made to make wills for people who are cocooning at home or in a nursing home.  A will can be witnessed through a window so that this can be done safely without the need for physical contact.

Obviously, wills are one of the things that we have to be physically present to be able to do correctly, so for this reason, we can only assist with will making either in our offices or in our local area and by prior appointment in all cases.  If you have any queries about your will or would like any assistance in making a will, please contact us now on 023 888 00 88 and we will make arrangements with you over the phone to get everything taken care of for you.

Anticipating resuming as normal

We look forward to everything returning to “normal” as soon as possible and to everyone staying well until we do so; meanwhile, we remain here for you working remotely so that your essential legal business gets taken care of notwithstanding the constraints that we are all living and working under.

We hope that you, your family and your loved ones all remain safe and well during these extraordinary times and please remember that we remain here to serve you whenever you need us.

In contentious business, a legal practitioner shall not charge any amount in respect of legal costs expressed as a percentage or proportion of any damages (or other moneys) that may become payable to his or her client or purport to set out the legal costs to be charged to a junior counsel as a specified percentage or proportion of the legal costs paid to a senior counsel. A legal practitioner shall not without the prior written agreement of his or her client deduct or appropriate any amount in respect of legal costs from the amount of any damages or moneys that become payable to the client in respect of legal services that the legal practitioner provided to the client.

Flor McCarthy is one of Ireland’s leading lawyers, certified by the Law Society of Ireland in Data Protection Practice. Flor has extensive expertise and hands-on practical experience in privacy, data protection and GDPR issues for marketers. He was chosen as Munster Solicitor of the Year at the Irish Law Awards in 2018.