An AWARD-WINNING lawyer has hit out at the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) after claiming there are no coronavirus prevention measures in place at court.
Aamer Anwar has accused the SCTS of “putting lives at risk” after he claimed no hand sanitiser or masks were available for staff or members of the public at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
The 52-year-old posted a damning rant from outside the court this morning [Tue] where he called for the SCTS to “step up”.
In the clip, the criminal defence lawyer fumed: “I’ve just spent the morning at Glasgow Sherriff Court, and I have to say Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services have to step up.”
“It is simply unacceptable that the lives of civilians, of admin staff, of catering staff of police officers of security staff of prosecutors and defence lawyers and Sheriffs have to be put at risk.”
“No masks were provided, there is no sanitiser there is no visible infection control taking place and albeit that cases are being put off we are being told as legal professionals that we had to attend court.”
“This is simply not good enough, the government has to pass immediate legislation so that only essential cases are brought to court.
“And there needs to be better information. Enough is enough.”
The post sparked outrage among social media users.
@Accyjim wrote: “Unbelievable! Where’s their duty of care? If they have a safety manager, and they should have a designated person, it should be sorted, or proceedings stopped.
@JoTHogan said: “Surely Courts and staff are not considered critical key workers and should stay at home like everyone else?? Step up @SCTScourtstribs?”
“What is with this inability of outfits to work out whether your job is critical to either supporting NHS, or supplying food and medicine?”
And @StuarT03867640 commented:”My work cannot implement the safe working environment either.
“Self-isolating and got a call from work saying everyone who is self-isolating is in breach of contract!”
Speaking today, Mr Anwar said: “What was shocking was despite government advice there was no sanitiser or prevention measures.”
Mr Anwar further added: “We (solicitors) are members of the public, we are not immune.”
“I am hoping that the Scottish Government acts immediately, cases must be stopped now.”
“I don’t think we have really woken up to the reality of the virus.”
Mr Anwar won solicitor of the Year 2018 and Lawyer of the year 2017 and is rector for the University of Glasgow.
His video comes less than a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nation-wide lockdown.
A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Servicesaid: “The SCTS is working extremely hard in these challenging times to ensure that both essential justice is supported, and Government guidelines are followed.
“All court business was reduced to essential cases only which has enabled social distancing. In line with health advice all courts have an ample supply of hot water and soap for handwashing.
“There is ongoing cleaning throughout the day and regular sterilisation of touch points.
“Although we do not provide masks, anyone is welcome to bring and use one themselves. Glasgow Sheriff Court has been providing legal practitioners with regular information in relation to conducting business without appearing in court.”