You may be feeling a little lost currently. Full on lock-down was stressful and for many of us, pretty testing. Now, however, we really are in unknown territory once again. We can do certain things but not others. What was familiar now looks a little menacing. The mundane, such as the daily commute, is a moderately terrifying challenge. Being around your fellow humans is to continually listen for ‘that’ cough or to check the distance and trajectory of those around you.

It’s all a bit trying to be honest and it’s not helped by the minority who have unilaterally decided ‘bad thing gone away, I can do what I like!’. That does not help anything or give much confidence moving forward but move forward we must! It is useful to pick out some of the key areas that may be causing you the maximum amount of stress or worry at this time. Some of them may be out of your control, others possibly could be addressed and therefore remove an item off your list of concerns.

At rhw we are getting a lot of enquiries about the following areas at the current time. These subjects tend to rise to the top of the Covid-19 inflamed matters: Family Law, Employment Law, Disputes and Private Client matters (Wills and Probate etc). Residential Property is just opening again as well.

There is a central theme that runs strongly through the first three areas I listed. Wills and Probate and Residential Property have their own reasons for being busy. For the first three areas the key theme that runs through all of them is the importance of communication. Not sure what I mean exactly? I will expand:

Family Law: The lock-down has taken a tremendous toll on many relationships that were already under pressure. Ironically the closer we are brought together the less is said between some people. The problem with the lock-down rules is that they don’t/didn’t care about human relationships or pressures caused by proximity issues. To an extent that is why the ‘cool down’ guidance was issued. To give couples a route out for a while.

What you must do however bad it gets, (excluding domestic violence) is to keep a channel of communication open. You will need to discuss things, particularly if there are children involved. There may be an opportunity at a later date to disappear into the mist forever but at this point, some level of communication is vital.

Employment Law: We have written elsewhere about the challenges everyone faces. Social distancing, the commute, the pressures to go back to work when you really do not feel comfortable about it. The first thing you need to do is collect your thoughts and rationale and then speak to your employer. If you are the employer, you have your own work cut out to provide a viable work space and communicate how you see the future to your employees.

The best thing you can do at this stage is to talk, in advance, about your intentions and your concerns. I think given the experience we have all shared you will find considerably more empathy and understanding than you might initially expect.

Disputes: We are getting a lot of enquiries through to our Dispute Resolution Team at present. It’s not a surprise in many ways. When we all spend more time at home, we effectively spend more time with the neighbours and also with anyone else in the vicinity, including family members. People get a far larger opportunity to rub people up the wrong way and for others, to start doing things that would be construed as ‘slightly odd’ in normal times.

If you have a dispute situation developing we always advise enquirers and clients alike to communicate with the other side, particularly initially. They may not actually know they are causing a problem. If after that you are unable to find a mutually acceptable solution, then you should consult with rhw and we will advise on a course of action.

In and around all this talk of communication etc we would add a word of caution. Please be careful about agreeing to something you are not comfortable with or being backed into a corner by the other side. If that occurs we would also advise that you seek legal advice.

Nobody knows exactly where we are all going at the present time. If rhw can help at all please call 01483 302000 or email guildford@rhw.co.uk outlining the matter that your wish to discuss and we will get someone to contact you.