We understand that the uncertainty of coronavirus brings with it many questions. Please see below some key points on some of the most topical areas, which we hope will provide some answers and reassurance. Please contact us if you still feel unsure and would like some more advice.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are aware that you may have specific concerns about your case if you have a live matter with us and we are still dedicated to providing you with the best service, below are some potential questions and answers which you may have about your matter.
1. Question: Are you still meeting clients face to face?
Answer: Only where absolutely essential and only in accordance with government guidance. Please contact us by telephone or email to discuss.
2. Question: I have a court hearing listed. Will it still go ahead, and should I attend?
Answer: Courts are operating on the basis of hearings taking place via telephone. Conference calls will be organised by solicitors and instructions given enabling all parties to participate. If you have health issues and feel that you will be unable to participate even in a telephone hearing please contact us as soon as practicable.
3. Question: I am due to provide documents by a date set by the court. Do I still need to comply with these deadlines?
Answer: If you are unable to meet a deadline for health reasons please contact us to discuss this. Otherwise you should assume that documentation must be provided within the timescale already in place.
4. Question: I am in the process of selling/buying a property, WILL THE TRANSACTION STILL GO AHEAD?
Answer: Unless any party to the transaction (or in the chain if any) has withdrawn we are proceeding with the matter.
We will be following Government Guidance issued on 26 March 2020 which provides:
“Home buyers should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).”
We will be taking all steps necessary to get your transaction ready for exchange and completion. However, we advise that unless absolutely essential exchange be delayed until the current measures are relaxed. Where it is essential to progress the transaction to completion, or where the property in question is unoccupied, we will aim to arrange for exchange of contracts and completion to take place on the same day to mitigate some of the risks.
5. QUESTION: I am buying/selling a property and have exchanged contracts will the transaction still go ahead on the fixed completion date.
Government guidance provides:
• if you have already exchanged contracts and the property you are purchasing is unoccupied you can continue with the transaction
• if the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.
• If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.
• anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group.
• If the property you are purchasing is currently occupied, we recommend that all parties should work to either delay the exchange of contracts until after the period where stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) are in place, or include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus.
Once the transaction reaches exchange of contracts, decisions will be made on a case by case basis particularly if exchange and completion cannot take place on the same day. Additional provisions in the exchange contract are currently being considered as an alternative where a gap is necessary between exchange and completion.
You should also consider other difficulties you may encounter at this time such as arranging for removal companies to move your furniture.
Please follow the link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak for full details of government advice