The practice of law: Impact by COVID-19

Marija Ivanović

Lawyer at Božić Law Office

– published as website article, to be included in Volume 1, Issue 1 of the AIDASCO Reviews as short article –

The COVID-19 virus pandemic affected all aspects of life, including law practice. In the fight against the virus, the state declared a state of emergency, suspending judiciary and other state bodies for two and a half months. This had a negative impact on the legal profession since the lawyer’s work was suspended, leaving them unable to represent their clients. As the legal profession is the fruit of a revolving circle, the wheel that stopped during that period left its consequences long after lifting the state of emergency. From an economic point of view, it mainly affected young lawyers and beginners.

From the emergence of the virus until its gradual reduction to a reasonable level, health was the focus of citizens. This reduced the interest in protecting civil rights, and people turned to lawyers mostly in case of emergency. On the criminal side, due to the limited freedom of movement, the lockdown period was characterized by the emergence of mental problems followed by pronounced violence. Unfortunately, the extent of violence in family circles dramatically increased.

The very procedure of court proceedings has changed dramatically as well. Even today, there are situations in which some judges do not allow the presence of third parties interested in the trial under the auspices of health protection and thus unjustifiably and illegally deny the application of the principle of publicity of court proceedings. Needless to say, publicity of court proceedings is fundamental for the protection of procedural rights. The pandemic still has its effects that are felt every day. Suspension of work cut the wings of the legal profession, which is still trying to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.