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Legionella threatens London’s historic Lincoln’s Inn and temporarily halts barristers’ return to work

June 2020

Legionella bacteria has been discovered during routine maintenance at Lincoln’s Inn, one of London’s most famous Inns of Court.

The discovery means barristers, who were scheduled to return to their workplace in mid-June, following the coronavirus lockdown, may face more time out of office.

The Law Gazette reports that traces of legionella bacterium, which can cause potentially deadly Legionnaire’s Disease, were discovered at Lincoln’s Inn, which houses firms such as Payne Hicks Beach, Wilsons, and Edwin Coe, as well as leading Chancery sets.

Tenants were informed of the discovery this week, with the inn setting out a programme of remedial works, including chlorination of the water system, while existing water supplies to tenants have been halted, with temporary showers and portaloos being installed, reports the Law Gazette,

No cases of Legionnaire’s Disease have been reported so far.

Ann Sharp, under treasurer at Lincoln’s Inn, told the Law Gazette: “We have a routine water quality testing regime in place at the inn and had alerted tenants and residents to the increased risk as a result of reduced occupation of buildings.

She added: “We were about to start a precautionary site-wide water treatment programme when routine testing identified two positive samples. We wrote again to tenants and residents and accelerated the treatment programme in the light of this, bringing in additional resources. We provided alternative washing and toilet facilities and free bottled water. We also offered to provide alternative accommodation to residents.”

Lizzie Ward, Managing Director of SAS Water Ltd, commented: “Legionella prevention professionals at SAS Water and across the UK have highlighted the risk of bacteria muliplying during lockdown and have campaigned for building owners to maintain their routine monitoring  and then undertake a risk assessment before reopening.

“This report indicates that the managers at Lincoln’s Inn had been doing the right thing and continued to monitor and flush the water system during lockdown. These actions may well have prevented an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease when the building reopened. We would urge all facilities managers to ensure they take advice, have regular monitoring in place and ensure water systems are recommissioned before reopening following lockdown.”

If you have concerns and haven’t tested your water standards, you can contact SAS Water for a no obligation consultation – email


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