The Law Society of Botswana has issued a notice, to members, clarifying the classification of lawyers and legal services as essential services exempted from certain lockdown rules contained in the recently enacted Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020 aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 across tthe country. The Notice reads in full:
NOTICE TO MEMBERS
DECLARATION OF LEGAL SERVICES AS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN
1.- Further to our previous on this subject, please be advised that the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020 have been promulgated and provide for the following:
1.1 Legal services have been declared an essential service;
1.2 A senior member of a law firm shall issue permits in terms of Form B to staff who require to be exempt from restrictions on movement. It is important to emphasize that these permits are available strictly to practitioners and their staff; and
1.3 Legal practitioners are allowed access to prisons and quarantine facilities to enable them to discharge their duties; and
1.4 Law firms are to provide all the necessary protection measures to staff who will be working during this period.
2. Further to the above, kindly note that the Regulations continue to emphasize the need to stay home unless it is absolutely essential that you leave your home.
3. The Society is similarly emphasizing the need to stay at home and adhere to health protocols as advised by health officials. Failure to do so puts the lives of many, including you, your staff, your families and the nation at large at risk.
4. It is critical, more than ever, that the profession shows that it is a leader in the society and in order to do this, a high level of responsibility is required. There is no doubt that in the event we fail to discharge a high level of responsibility, more stringent measures will be put in place, to the disadvantage of all. It is the responsibility of each of us to minimize the risks of contracting and spreading the virus.
5. Should there be any further information, it will be shared with you.
Dated at Gaborone this 3rd Day of April 2020
Issued by: The Council
Law Society of Botswana