3PB’s Tom Webb tells all about returning to court for a personal injury trial during the pandemic

3PB personal injury and clinical negligence barrister Tom Webb attended Winchester County Court on Thursday 28th May in what is believed to have been one of the first civil trials to be heard in person since lockdown began. His observations on what fellow barristers, solicitors, lay clients, witnesses and judges will be going back to in the coming weeks are set out in his article.

Tom reports on the practicalities of the process, including the social distancing measures adopted by HMCTS. He considers in particular the realities of conducting a pre-trial conference with the client whilst maintaining a 2-metre distance, as well as describing the adaptations made to the courtroom during the trial itself. The article will assist those who are likely to be considering whether a case is suitable for in-person hearing in the coming weeks, or indeed whether they feel personally comfortable in returning to court at this stage.

Tom's article recommends some simple steps for barristers attending court, namely: apply for and download the Bar ID card; take your own hand sanitizer; take your own drink (and food if likely to be there over lunch) and consider how the logistics of a conference with the client might work, particularly if you need to review video footage with them.

To speak to Tom Webb about the new norm of court appearances in a pandemic, entirely in confidence, or to instruct him please email him on tom.webb@3pb.co.uk or his clerk Dave Snook on david.snook@3pb.co.uk.