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The English Legal System

The English Legal System (8th edn)

Alisdair Gillespie and Siobhan Weare
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date: 21 July 2024

p. 68920. The Future in a Post-COVID Worldlocked

p. 68920. The Future in a Post-COVID Worldlocked

  • Alisdair A. GillespieAlisdair A. GillespieProfessor of Criminal Law and Justice at Lancaster University
  •  and Siobhan WeareSiobhan WeareSenior Lecturer in Law at Lancaster University


This chapter considers the impact that COVID-19 has had on the English Legal System. The chapter is broken down into sections that mirror the parts of this book. The chapter begins by noting that the manner in which laws are passed differed because of coronavirus. The government were given wide-ranging powers to introduce new laws that restricted liberty. In many instances, these were not subject to Parliamentary debate or judicial analysis. The chapter also considers how the courts had to adjust to new ways of working. While traditionally, the courts rely on live proceedings, with everyone gathered in court, this was not possible throughout the pandemic. Remote hearings became the new normal until so-called ‘Nightingale Courts’ were introduced to allow for socially-distant trials to resume. However, this has led to significant delays in both the civil and criminal justice systems that will have a lasting impact. The chapter considers not only what has happened during the coronavirus pandemic, but also what lessons have been learnt that can carry through to the future.

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