The Institute of Legal Research & Standards
MAY 2020 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
RETURNING TO WORK SAFELY – INFORMATIVE WEBINAR
On the 29th May there was a WEBINAR EVENT titled “Getting Back to Work in the “New Normal” hosted by Flor McCarthy (Solicitor) and Martin Lawlor (Solicitor) with special guests Bernie Lawlor (Theatre Manager in Wexford General Hospital) and Julie Brennan (Solicitor and Managing Director of ILRS). This webinar was very informative as it looked at returning to work from a legal practitioners point of view and discussed the policy and general procedures that need to be put in place, in addition, it also provided practical knowledge and expertise from a medical standard point of view, including how to implement certain procedures and a demonstration of how to wash hands and place a mask on correctly and safely.
To view this webinar see https://event.webinarjam.com/t/click/vm45xf8ugu5vc4m3commtn7tv
RETURNING TO WORK SAFELY – POLICIES
There have been several documents made available this month relating to returning to work safely including the Return to Work Safely Protocol – COVID-19 Specific National Protocol for Employers and Workers as prepared by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/22829a-return-to-work-safely-protocol/ and the Law Society of Ireland prepared a Guideline on How to Return to Onsite Workhttps://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/news/covid19/guideline-returning-onsite-working.pdf. The Law Society have also produced a sample Covid-19 Contact Log which is available on its website for firms to record all visitors to their offices including clients, suppliers etc. The objective of this to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a staff member or visitor being identified as having Covid-19. While a contact log is required, we would suggest firms look at ways to use online systems to record details.
The Institute of Legal Research and Standards (ILRS) has also prepared a template policy titled Response Plan for Covid-19 Return to Work Safely Protocol Policy which has been based on the Return to Work Safely Protocol – COVID-19 Specific National Protocol for Employers and Workers which is applicable to all industry sectors but the ILRS policy has been adapted in so far as is possible to address the legal sector. This policy is available in the members section of the ILRS website. We have also updated the template employee handbook and health and safety statement.
PRACTISING CONVEYANCING IN THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES
Relating to retuning to work safely above, the Law Society of England and Wales have drafted guidance notes for conveyancers, providing information to enable sales and purchases to be carried out while maintaining safety in line with social distancing measures as set down by the government.
It has also drafted a guidance for clients in conveyancing matters and drafted a Coronavirus (Covid-19) clause for completion.
DRAFTING AND EXECUTING WILLS IN THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES
The Law Society of Ireland have set out the process for making wills during this pandemic.
To view the recommended process see https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/wills-remain-vital-during-pandemic/
SOLICITORS RISKS FLOWING FROM COVID-19 AND POTENTIAL IMPACT ON PII RENEWAL
This month Sinead Ryan in DWF looks at solicitors’ risks flowing from Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland and the potential impact the risks will have on the renewal of their Professional Indemnity Insurance in November.
Sinead Ryan sets out steps law firms should take to address the risks arising in these unprecedented times such as working remotely and staff having been laid off.
She also looks at risks specific to the various areas of law.
REGULATORY MATTERS AND THE COVID-19 CRISIS
In this month’s Law Society Gazette, John Elliot Registrar of Solicitors and Director of Regulation has published a guidance note titled “Regulatory Matters and the Covid-19 Crisis” and he discusses the following: –
- Accounting records;
- Client account transactions;
- Professional fees;
- Balancing statements;
- Electronic transfer of funds;
- Anti-money laundering;
- Accountant reports;
- Law Society Inspections;
- Regulation of practice;
- Practice regulation support.
To view this guidance note see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2020/may-2020-gazette.pdf#page=59
DPC ISSUES FIRST FINE UNDER THE GDPR
This month the DPC has issued its first fine under the GDPR.
The state agency Tusla has been fined €75,000 under the GDPR in relation to three data breaches which were reported to the DPC in February and March 2019, one of the breaches involved the accidental disclosure of the contact and location data of a mother and child to an alleged abuser.
This fine shows that the DPC will use its powers against any organisation that is not in compliance with the GDPR.
For more information see https://www.rte.ie/news/2020/0522/1140110-tusla-data-breach/
TIPS ON HOW TO BEST PREVENT A DATA BREACH
The DPC published a blog on the 1st May titled “Tips for Avoiding Data Breaches”.
The blog provides general tips to help you keep personal data safe and avoid data breaches whether you are an employee working remotely or an organisation developing new ways of staying in touch in these unprecedented times.
To view these tips and ensure you are implementing best practices see https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/blogs/tips-avoiding-data-breaches
ADDITIONAL ADVICES ON CYBER SECURITY RISKS
With many practitioners and their employees working remotely and often in less secure cyber security arrangements and with the increase in cyber-attacks the Law Society of Ireland have set out additional advices on common cyber security risks associated with working remotely.
To view these advices see https://www.lawsociety.ie/Solicitors/Running-a-Practice/Cybersecurity/covid-19-precautions/
The Law Society of England and Wales have also has issued a guidance note relating to cyber security and produced three bite-sized videos titled: –
- Our four commandments to stay cyber-safe when working from home (1min 09secs);
- Running a law firm? Three rules to follow on data protection during Covid-19 (1min 43secs);
- How to deliver legal services safely online (1min 44secs).
EU PUBLISHES PLAN TO STRENGTHEN ITS FIGHT AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING
On the 7th May the European Commission published an action plan setting out concrete measures it will take over the next 12 months to strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
It also published a more transparent refined methodology to identify high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and countering Terrorist Financing regime that pose significant threats to the EU’s financial system. It should be noted that the Commission has revised its list of high-risk third countries – both listing new and delisting several countries.
To read more on this see https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_800
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
It was reported in this month’s Law Society Gazette that the meeting held by the Council in March discussed the issue of diversity and inclusion see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2020/may-2020-gazette.pdf#page=58
The Law Society of Ireland is also inviting solicitor firms to pledge their names to the Law Society Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter, see https://www.lawsociety.ie/Solicitors/Running-a-Practice/diversity-and-inclusion/#signupform
Please also note in January 2020 the ILRS prepared a policy titled Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policywhich is available in the members section of the ILRS website.