FAQS: Legal Sector during Lockdown 2.0

Further to the second lockdown imposed by the government commencing on 5th November 2020, we set out below the Frequently Asked Questions in respect of the legal sector during this period:

Conveyancing FAQs

Can I still move house?

Yes, per the current government guidelines the housing market will remain open. You can view houses, book moving companies, and tradespeople can enter your property*.

I have been furloughed; will this affect my mortgage offer?

This will depend on your lender but you must contact your mortgage broker or lender directly to ensure they are made aware of all changes to your circumstances.

Can I still sell my home if it is not already advertised for sale?

Yes, please contact your chosen Estate Agent. They will inform you of all the necessary precautions you will need to take to protect yourself, your family members, and any possible viewers when showing your home.

I need a home buyers survey; can I still book this?

Yes, under the current guidance the housing market is to remain open during this lockdown, this means that all parts of your conveyance will be available. All tradespeople that are vital to the process will be allowed to continue working. Please ensure that you book all tradespeople of surveyors promptly to prevent delays.

I am buying a buy to let property, am I still able to let this property during lockdown?

Yes, the market is open to both homebuyers and renters. You will be able to advertise your new rental property and let it should you find a tenant.
*We recommend you book all moving companies and rental vans well in advance of your completion. This will ensure that you will not be in breach of your contract and you will not be disappointed come moving day.

Family and Litigation FAQs

  1. Are the courts still open?
    Courts will continue to operate throughout the four-week period of lockdown expected to begin on 5th November. The work of the courts and tribunals will continue to be exempted from lockdown measures.
  2. Is my hearing proceeding?
    Do check with your solicitor for updates for your case however the recent guidance states that judges and magistrates must continue to make ‘full use’ of provisions for remote hearings so that cases can be dealt with as soon and as efficiently as possible.
  3. What is the rule for children who live between two different households?
    Children who live between two different households will still be able to move between parents. Nonetheless, the paramount consideration remains the same: the best interest of the children.

Private Clients FAQs

How do I get my will witnessed?

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has legalised a temporary amendment to the Wills Act 1837, allowing video witnessed wills and codicils during the coronavirus pandemic in England and Wales. This new policy was implemented in September 2020 and will continue in force until 30 January 2022, or as long as is considered necessary.

Who can Video-Witness a Will?

All the existing legislation still stands, and the witnesses themselves must be over 18 and must not benefit from or be married to anyone who benefits under the Will.

How to Video-Witness a Will?

You may use any good quality and reliable video conferencing software for this purpose. The video must be clear enough to see and hear exactly what is happening, and there must be at least two witnesses that are not named beneficiaries. Each video call should ideally be recorded, with the parties present confirming orally that they can see and understand what is happening. The Will should ideally be physically signed by all parties within 24 hours and won’t be valid until done so.

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that Wills should still be witnessed in person wherever possible and that video witnessing must remain a last resort.

Immigration FAQS

  1. Will my application be delayed?
    The Home Office and relevant authorities are still operational, however working remotely. If there are any issues with your VISA application, the Home Office will contact you directly.
  2. Are VISA centres still open?
    VISA centres are still open and, as far as we are aware, still operating on an appointment-by-appointment basis – this may be subject to change hence it would be prudent to check with your solicitors or legal representatives too.
  3. Can I still make an application?
    Yes, you can still make an application – whether that is in-country or out-of-country.

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