Arrangements for courts from Monday 23 November 2020

 Posted 23 November 2020 


Court buildings will reopen from Monday, 23 November 2020. Court users are reminded to follow the directions of SA Health in relation to the . If any of these directions apply to you or if you are unwell, do not enter a court building.

 

Courts continue with COVID-19 hygiene and social distancing requirements.

 

The following arrangements are in place for courts as of Monday, 23 November 2020.

 

Supreme Court

 

The Supreme Court will resume normal operations from Monday 23 November 2020. Counsel in matters that were adjourned on account of the stay-at-home direction who would like to have that matter brought on before the adjourned date should contact the chambers of the Judge or Master who adjourned the matter to arrange its re-listing.

 

Supreme Court Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289

 

District Court

 

For the week beginning 23 November 2020:

  • Any matters that were adjourned by the court will proceed as advised on the new date.
  • No new jury trials will be commenced.

District Court Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289

 

Criminal Enquiries

p: (08) 8204 2444

 

Environment, Resources and Development Court

 

Any matters that were adjourned by the court will proceed as advised on the new date.

 

ERD Court Enquiries

p: (08) 804 0289

 

Magistrates Court

 

The Magistrates Court will reopen on Monday 23 November 2020.

 

Criminal Jurisdiction

 

The following courts will be sitting on Monday 23 November 2020 and Tuesday 24 November 2020:

  • Adelaide
  • Christies Beach
  • Elizabeth
  • Port Adelaide
  • Berri
  • Port Augusta

The abovementioned courts will only hear a limited range of criminal matters, those being:

  • Defendants that are remanded in custody whose scheduled next appearance falls on Monday and Tuesday.
  • All overnight arrests.
  • Urgent applications and urgent intervention order applications.

Normal listings will resume on 25 November 2020 at all court locations.

 

Circuits were and remain cancelled for the week commencing 23 November 2020.

 

Circuits will proceed for the week commencing 30 November 2020.

 

Civil Jurisdiction

 

All civil jurisdiction matters listed in Adelaide for the week commencing 23 November 2020 were adjourned to a date to be advised.

 

Urgent civil applications may be heard with approval by the Regional Manager Civil.

 

Contact details

P: (08) 8204 2444

e: 

 

Youth Court

 

Criminal Jurisdiction

  • Lockdown arrangements will remain in place until Tuesday 24 November.
  • Normal listing arrangements will resume on Tuesday 24 November.
  • Matters that have been adjourned in response to the COVID-19 lockdown will retain the new listing date.

Care and Protection Jurisdiction

  • All Re-unification matters listed for 25 November will proceed.
  • All urgent removals will be heard within the 5 days from the date of removal.
  • All first return matters listed will be heard on the day listed and time listed.
  • Matters with orders due to expire on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 November will be heard.
  • Normal listing arrangements will resume on Wednesday 25 November.

Contact details for Criminal matters

P: (08) 82040330

E: 

Care and Protection: 

 

Coroners Court

 

The Coroners Court will be open to the public.

 

Coroner's Office:

p: (08) 8204 0600

 

For further information contact the CourtSA Registry Services on (08) 8204 2444 or refer to the CAA website: www.courts.sa.gov.au.


Arrangements for the South Australian Employment Tribunal from Monday 23 November 2020

 Posted 23 November 2020 


The Honourable President Justice Dolphin has advised the Attendances at SAET – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic responses – 19 November 2020 communique is rescinded.

 

As of Monday 23 November 2020, in accordance with South Australian Government advice and directions with regards to the recent Covid-19 cluster outbreak, the Tribunal is adopting the following practices.

 

Criteria for attending SAET in-person

 

Anyone attending SAET in-person must meet the Criteria for attending SAET in-person. The criteria is available at 

 

Matters before Commissioners

 

Until further notice, all scheduled hearings and conference, including those scheduled to be conducted in-person, will be conducted by teleconference.

 

Matters before Presidential Members

 

Unless advised by the Tribunal, hearings and conferences will be conducted as scheduled. All queries should be directed to the individual chambers.

 

Review

 

The SAET will continue to review its position in accordance with changing circumstances, updated Australian and State government protocols and the advice of health experts.


Magistrates Court of South Australia 

Posted 20 November 2020 

Between 19 November 2020 and 24 November 2020 inclusive (the period), the Magistrates Court Buildings will be closed. Urgent matters will be heard in the Adelaide Magistrates Court and Elizabeth Magistrates Court by AVL or phone and are restricted to the following:  
Criminal Jurisdiction 

Defendants that are remanded in custody whose scheduled next appearance falls within the above dates
All overnight arrests
Urgent Applications and Urgent Intervention Order applications.

All other matters listed during the period will be re-listed in the next 4-6 weeks to a date and time to be advised.

 
Civil Jurisdiction

All civil jurisdiction matters listed during the period have been adjourned to a date to be advised. Urgent civil applications will only be heard if approved by the Regional Manager civil.

For more information, please see the listing updates published by the Courts Administration Authority:

Adelaide Magistrates Court 
Elizabeth Magistrates Court 

and the CAA Coronavirus COVID-19 Information webpage, which is updated regularly. 
 


Law not essential service during lockdown period

Posted 19 November 2020 

The Society has been advised that the Premier’s office has decided that for the purposes of the 6-day state-wide lockdown the legal profession is not considered an essential service. However, this may be subject to exceptions for those in certain roles, but further advice on that front is yet to be circulated. 
  
Legal practitioners are therefore limited to providing legal services from their homes.
 
A list of essential services is available and kept up to date on the SA Health website at https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery.
  
The Society will provide any further information as it becomes available.


COVID-19 Lockdown arrangements for courts 

Posted on 18 November 2020

 

The Courts have issued a media release advising the following arrangements are in place for the period 19 November to 24 November 2020.

 

All court buildings will be closed to the public.

 

Supreme Court and District Court

All matters that are currently listed in the Supreme Court and District Court over the next six days will be adjourned. The court will only hear urgent matters during that period. At first instance, any application for an urgent hearing must be made to the appropriate Registry via the contact details set out below.

 

Civil matters can be lodged through the .

 

Supreme Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289

supreme.registry@courts.sa.gov.au

 

District Court Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289

e: district.civil@courts.sa.gov.au

 

Criminal enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 2444

e: ccrcs@courts.sa.gov.au

 

Environment, Resources and Development Court

All matters that are currently listed in the Environment, Resources and Development Court over the next six days will be adjourned.

 

Magistrates Court

The Magistrates Court will only hear overnight custody matters, urgent bail matters and Police Intervention Orders over the next six days. The court buildings will be closed on those days and all other matters listed will be adjourned. Further details will be provided.

 

P: (08) 8204 2444

e: enquiry@courts.sa.gov.au

 

Youth Court

The Adelaide Youth Court will operate with a skeleton staff for the purpose of hearing urgent matters only. Urgent matters are restricted to the following:

 

Criminal Jurisdiction

  • Matters remanding youths in custody and listed for hearing during the six day lockdown, will be further remanded to 25 November 2020;
  • All overnight arrests will be heard by a Judicial Officer in the General list at 11.30am. All matters will be heard via AVL;
  • All Intervention order matters will be heard;
  • All other matters listed during the period of the lockdown will be re-listed in the next 4-5 weeks to a date and time to be advised.

Care and Protection Jurisdiction

  • All Re-unification matters will be adjourned to a date and time to be advised;
  • All urgent removals will be heard within the five days from the date of removal;
  • All first return matters listed between 19/11/20 and 24/11/2020 will be heard on the day listed, the time of the hearings will be advised;
  • Matters with orders due to expire during the lockdown period will be heard.

All hearings at the Youth Court for both jurisdictions will be heard via AVL, Webex or phone link.

 

Contact details for Criminal matters

p: (08) 82040330: (08) 82040330

e: : youthcourt@courts.sa.gov.au

Care and Protection: careandprotectionyouthcourt@courts.sa.gov.au

 

Coroners Court

The Coroners Court will be closed to the public.

Coroner's Office:

p: (08) 8204 0600

e: coroner@courts.sa.gov.au

 

For further information contact the CourtSA Registry Services on (08) 8204 2444 or refer to the CAA website: www.courts.sa.gov.au.



Family Court and Federal Circuit Court COVID-19 measures 

 Posted 18 November 2020 


Following the South Australian Premier’s announcement regarding a number of important COVID-19 related restrictions effective midnight, the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) have made some urgent operational changes in the Adelaide Registry.

 

In order to continue to provide the Courts’ important service during this time, the following changes will be in place until 24 November 2020, unless a further extension is announced by Government:

  • all hearings scheduled will be run remotely, and parties and witnesses must appear via Microsoft Teams or telephone;
  • where Child Dispute Services (CDS) interviews are scheduled to occur with adult parties, interviews will be conducted by Microsoft Teams (or by telephone if this is not possible); where CDS interviews or observations are scheduled to occur with children, CDS will consider the individual circumstances of each case to form a view as to whether it is safe and appropriate to conduct the interview remotely; and
  • all duty lawyer and legal support services which are run out the Court in Adelaide will need to be provided remotely.

These changes will be closely reviewed in line with Government health advice and restrictions.



Land Services SA – limited services

 Posted 18 November 2020 


The Registrar-General has advised that as a consequence of the lockdown from midnight tonight Land Services SA will only be available for limited services.

 

These services will be limited to the electronic lodgement of dealings and plans and customer service by phone or email. The Land Services SA offices will be closed.

 

Paper lodgement of plans and dealings will not be able to be catered for during this time. They can be posted to the Land Services SA postal box but please be aware that if dealings or plans are posted to Land Services SA they will not be able to be accessed and will not be lodged officially until the lockdown is lifted and Land Services SA is able to retrieve their post and process. To overcome this inability to lodge the Registrar-General strongly suggests the Priority Notice facility is utilised thus reserving the priority of lodgement on the specified Certificates of Titles.

 

The Registrar-General has also noted that many documents are available to be lodged electronically and therefore that process is not affected.


District Court Jury Trials 

Posted 18 November 2020 

The Chief Judge has advised that in light of current SA Health recommendations, the District Court sitting in Adelaide will not commence new jury trials for the remainder of this week. The position in relation to jury trials listed to commence next week will remain under review. An update in relation to those trials will be provided by Friday 20 November 2020.

All other hearings including civil trials and direction hearings, judge alone criminal trials, pre-trial arguments, bail applications, guilty pleas, arraignments and sentencing will not be affected.

If you have a matter in court and need further information, please contact CourtSA Registry Services on 8204 2444 or enquiry@courts.sa.gov.au.



CAA Update: Court appearances during current COVID-19 restrictions 

Posted 17 November 2020 

The Courts Administration Authority has written to the Society to provide the following updated guidelines and information for the profession in reference to all matters before the Supreme and District Court Masters as of Wednesday, 18 November 2020.

 

Given the current restrictions due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Masters are aware that there may be some concern and confusion regarding court appearances during this time.

 

Directions hearings and arguments will continue to be conducted in court with appropriate physical distancing and hygiene precautions.

 

However, the Masters recognise that some practitioners will be working from home or reluctant to attend court in person.

 

If a practitioner has a condition that makes them vulnerable to infection or they are generally concerned and do not wish to or feel comfortable to come into Court they should advise Chambers at least 24 hours prior to the hearing and make arrangements for a remote attendance via either Webex or telephone link.

 

Whilst in court, parties are not to approach court staff at a distance closer than 1.5 metres and no documents will be handed up in court but must be sent electronically to Chambers prior to the hearing.

 

Supreme Court mediations will continue as listed, although the venue may change at short notice (while still remaining within the Court precinct). Please check with the Sheriff’s officers on your arrival at Court.

 

Settlement conferences are to be held between the parties at an alternate venue. A directions hearing will be convened (by email) shortly after the current date for the settlement conference, to allow the parties to advise the Court of the outcome and for consequential orders to be made. For conferences to be listed in the future, they will be listed on the basis that a time for an email directions hearing will be given, with the settlement conference to be held prior to that time.

 

Practitioners are not to come to the Court, if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • loss of sense of smell
  • shortness of breath
  • have visited sites listed on the SA Health website as being connected with the outbreak and/or
  • have had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last 14 days.

These measures will be implemented from 18 November 2020 and will operate until further notice.



Jury Trials - Supreme Court and District Court 

Posted 1 October 2020 

Please find attached a General News Release from the Courts Administration Authority advising that following consultation with SA Health, multiple courtrooms will not be used for Supreme and District Court jury trials commencing after 6 October 2020. 

New jury trials commencing from Tuesday 6 October 2020 will be conducted in a single courtroom using the existing dedicated jury facilities. 

The Court will maintain cleaning and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the court. 


COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations 2020

Posted 30 September 2020

The
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations 2020, being a variation of the Regulations which have been in force since May 2020 were gazetted on 25 September 2020 and come into effect on 1 October 2020. 


Extension of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations

Posted 10 September 2020 


The
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Expiry and Rent) Amendment Bill 2020, which extends the operation of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Act) was introduced to the Parliament on 8 September 2020.  The Bill extends the operation of section 7 of the Act to 28 March 2021 to align with the Commonwealth JobKeeper scheme, which has been extended over two periods, from 28 September to 3 January 2021 and 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations will be made made upon passage of the Bill.  It is intended the Regulations will commence on 1 October 2020 and expire on 3 January 2021. 

All of the provisions of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 are extended (as amended) except the following provisions that have been expired:

Section

Subject

8(1)(c)

Provisions providing that inspections of residential tenancies can only occur via AV unless in exceptional circumstances.

10(1)(i)

Provisions that provide that inspections of supported residential facilities may only occur via electronic means unless exceptional circumstances.

11

Provisions applying to certain water and sewerage charges for sporting clubs.

12

Treasurer’s instructions relating to financial and audit requirements.

13

Audits by the Auditor-General

15

Modification of requirements relating to laying reports before Parliament.

 

Section 7 of the Act and the associated regulations prohibit certain prescribed actions, including evictions, by lessors against lessees who have less than $50 million annual turnover and who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, require parties to a commercial lease to make a genuine attempt to negotiate in good faith the rent payable and other terms of a commercial lease, establish a mediation regime by the Small Business Commissioner in relation to disputes, and establish a resolution regime for disputes through the Magistrates Court.

The Act and regulations are South Australia’s response to the Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 published by National Cabinet on 7 April 2020. 

The variation regulations continue the protections for affected lessees and will enable lessees who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on 1 October to renegotiate certain agreements made under the previous regulations or negotiate new agreements or seek court determinations as necessary.


COVID-19 Supreme Court practice changes revoked 

Posted 2 September 2020

Please find attached a news release from the Chief Justice advising that on 31 August 2020, the Supreme Court Judges’ resolved to revoke the COVID-19 practice changes of 20 March 2020, subject to the following.

Public health measure adapted to the directions and recommendations of public health authority will be maintained. The UCR will be amended so that submissions, rather than outlines, will be required in all appeal matters before the Court. In the case of applications for permission to appeal in criminal matters, those submissions must be provided three business days before the day on which the application is listed. 



Gradual resumption of face-to-face hearings in the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia from 15 June 2020

 Posted 15 June 2020

The Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Hon Justice Alstergren has advised the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are extending the face-to-face protocols currently in place to allow urgent trials and urgent hearings of applications that cannot be conducted by Microsoft Teams to be heard in face-to-face hearings commencing 15 June 2020.

Whilst the Courts have been able to conduct over 80% of their work via electronic hearings since March 2020, it is recognised that there are some proceedings that require a hearing in person. Given the health concerns and social distancing requirements, a full utilisation of courtrooms may take some months as restrictions are eased. However, the Courts will open 4 courtrooms in each major registry starting today. This will be increased as soon as the Courts are are able to.

Strict social distancing and capacity requirements will have to be met not only in respect to space within courtrooms but also in respect to people queuing at security and waiting to use an elevator. An updated In Court Face-to-Face Protocol is attached and will be on each Court’s website.

The salient features of the protocol are:
  • Hearing times will be staggered;
  • There will be strict social distancing requirements implemented in all common areas and courtrooms;
  • In courtrooms, no written appearances are to be provided to Associates. Appearances are to be orally announced at the start of the hearing;
  • No hardcopy documents are to be passed up during the hearing; an electronic court book is to be used where possible;
  • No more than 8 people plus court staff and a judicial officer are allow in the courtroom at any one time without leave of the judge;
  • Witnesses who are not parties will be required to leave the courtroom after giving evidence;
  • All present are encouraged to download and activate the COVID-19 app. Those who choose not to will be requested (not required) to provide their names and contact details for contact tracing requirements only if the Courts are required to provide that information to the health authorities if an outbreak occurs;
  • Practitioners and parties will not be able to go to other floors in the Court Registry save for the entrance and the floor their courtroom is located on, and should exit the Registry building promptly after the conclusion of their hearing.

This protocol will be updated from time to time and be sent to the Society for provision to practitioners prior to its implementation. 


Attendances at the South Australian Employment Tribunal

Posted 12 June 2020

Please find attached a letter of 11 June 2020 from the Hon President Justice Dolphin. It advises that from Monday 15 June 2020, the Tribunal will start a period of transition from some of the practices adopted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those practices are outlined in the letter.

In line with governmental guidelines, some of the practices previously adopted will remain in place as measures to reduce the need for personal attendances at the Tribunal and to ensure safe social distancing in the precincts, waiting areas, conference rooms and courtrooms of the Tribunal’s two floors.


All matters before Adelaide Magistrates Court - Civil - from 15 June 2020

Posted 12 June 2020

Please find attached an announcement from the Chief Magistrate advising updated COVID-19 arrangements which will be implemented as of 15 June 2020 with respect to all civil matters before the Court. These measures will operate until further notice. 


Matters before Supreme Court Masters to return to normal from 9 June 2020

 Posted 27 May 2020

The Masters of the Supreme Court have today advised that, from Tuesday 9 June 2020, all listing practices, including mediations, will return to normal. All matters will be heard in court, unless other arrangements are made with chambers prior to the hearing.
 

For matters up to and including 5 June 2020, the current protocols will continue to apply, except where they have been modified in consultation with chambers.

All inquiries should be directed to Ms Giles at chambers.dart@courts.sa.gov.au or Mrs Palmer, at chambers.bochner@courts.sa.gov.au.



COVID-19 Regulations

Updated 22 May 2020

A number of Regulations pursuant to the 
COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 have been Gazetted.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Section 16) Regulations 2020 regulations extend the classes of persons who may take statutory declarations.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Section 17) Regulations 2020 provide that, with regards to measures that permit meetings or transactions to be held remotely, that this does not  apply to the requirement that a person be physically present to witness the signing, execution, certification or stamping of a document or to take any oath, affirmation or declaration in relation to a document.

COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases) Regulations 2020

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases) Regulations 2020  provide relief provide relief for commercial tenancies impacted by COVID-19. Find out more about these regulations here.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Section 14) (No 1) Variation Regulations 2020 extend time limits for various aspects of the following Acts

 

Aged and Infirm Persons’ Property Act 1940

Associations Incorporation Act 1985

Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939

Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007

Equal Opportunity Act 1984

Lottery and Gaming Act 1936

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations were made on 8 September 2020, to commence on 1 October 2020 and expire on 3 January 2021. 

The variation regulations continue the protections for affected lessees and will enable lessees who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on 1 October to renegotiate certain agreements made under the previous regulations or negotiate new agreements or seek court determinations as necessary.



Advance Care Directives

Posted 15 May 2020 

The Society has written to the Attorney-General at the request of its Country Practitioners’ Committee, asking for her to consider implementing changes around the order of signing of Advance Care Directives (ACDs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Society noted its long standing concerns regarding the requirements around the order of signing are further exacerbated in the current COVID-19 environment. The Society expressed its serious concerns regarding the inherent and completely avoidable risk that the person making the ACD may lose adequate mental capacity between the date of giving instructions and the time the document is signed by substitute decision makers and returned for signing by the donor. The Society suggested that the order of signing should simply not be prescribed and that electronic signatures be accepted to facilitate the signing of ACDs in emergency situations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


District Court jury trials to recommence soon

Posted 8 May 2020

The District Court has advised that jury trials will commence in Adelaide from 1 August 2020 on a staged basis. The Mount Gambier Circuit in July will proceed as a normal circuit with jury trials. Country circuits thereafter will also proceed as normal circuits with jury trials. The Court will be seeking advice from SA Health with regards to re-introducing jury trials, and will ensure any social distancing or other health guidelines are followed. This may require two courtrooms to be set aside for each jury trial, which would impact the listing of trials. Read the full statement from the Courts Administration Authority


COVID-19 impact on family law highlights courts system's need for more resources

 Posted 4 May 2020

Law Society President Tim White and Family Law Committee Co-Chair Jane Miller spoke to the Advertiser about the impact of COVID-19 on family law matters and the inevitable increase in matters that will come before the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court, necessitating an increase in investment in the already under-resourced court to the courts system to manage the extra workload. Tim was also interviewed on ABC about the issue. 



RTWSA to recommence permanent impairment assessments

Posted 1 May 2020 

The Society is pleased to announce that RTWSA will be recommencing referring workers for permanent impairment assessments from Monday 4 May 2020. Workers who, for personal reasons, do not wish to proceed with an assessment of their permanent impairment at this time will suffer no adverse claim consequences. RTWSA has advised that it is its expectation that assessors will continue to ensure workers are appropriately screened before commencing any physical assessment. Read RTWSA's response to the Society | Read the Society’s letter to RTWSA


Witnessing affidavits during COVID-19

Updated 30 April 2020 

The Supreme Court and District Court issued a practice note on witnessing affidavits during the COVID-19 pandemic on 16 April 2020.  The SAET issued a Practice Direction on 28 April 2020 regarding the witnessing of affidavits during the COVID-19 pandemic. It clarifies the Tribunal's expectations in relation to the acceptance of unsworn affidavits and in doing so advises the Tribunal will adopt the Practice Note of the Supreme Court and District Court of 16 April 2020. 


Requirements regarding the witnessing of documents during COVID-19

Updated 30 April 2020

The Attorney-General (SA) has advised the Society (by letter of 29 April 2020) that regulations will not be made at this time that allow the electronic attestation or witnessing of documents, the decision being on the basis that documents can currently be witnessed in a safe and physically distant manner whilst still complying with the law as it is currently. The was in response to the Society’s letter written to the Attorney-General on 23 April 2020 asking that regulation be made under section 16 of the Emergency Response Act 2020 (SA) with respect to the electronic witnessing of documents. An article in InDaily on 30 April 2020 advises of the Attorney’s position and that taken by the Society.

The Society is consulting its specialist Committees as to detail of the specific issues practitioners are experiencing. The Society will continue to advocate for measures that are in the best interests of the community and the profession during the COVID-19 pandemic.



$1.8 million COVID 19 package to support practitioners

Posted 29 April 2020 

The Law Society is proud to announce a once-off $1.8 million rebate support package to help Members and insureds during the COVID-19 crisis.

The once-off package includes:
  • Membership discounts of 23-24% for most members and up to 85% for low fee earners, subject to renewal by 30 September (refer to below table for more details)
  • a 15% rebate on all CPD events for the 2020-21 financial year*
  • a $500 Administration Fee rebate for every insured practitioner
  • Members eligible for the 20% or 50% reduced PI contribution for Low Fee Earners will automatically receive the corresponding Low Fee Earner membership rate
  • Expansion of the eligibility criteria for the Non-practising Admitted member category to include members stood down or made redundant due to COVID-19
  • The continuation of a 10-month repayment plan on renewal fees

Click here for full details of the support package



Advocacy Notes newsletter out now!

Posted 28 April 2020  

The latest edition of Advocacy Notes summarises the key issues the Society has been working on to support and advocate on behalf of the profession with regards to delivering legal services during COVID-19 (and other issues). Read about the Society's push for audio-visual witnessing, its advocacy to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on personal injury claimants, and making recommendations as to the classification of the law as an essential service.  Read the April edition of Advocacy Notes

 


Update on temporary cessation of work injury assessments

Posted 24 April 2020 

Return to Work SA has responded to the Society’s
letter with regards to concerns about referrals for whole person impairment (WPI) assessments being temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.  RTWSA had advised that the assessments for physical injuries are likely to resume “in the next few weeks” and assessments for mental injury will resume shortly via remote technology. Read the Society’s letter to RTWSA | Read RTWSA’s response to the Society


Further advice on witnessing Statutory Declarations during COVID-19

Posted 24 April 2020 

The Attorney General of SA has provided further advice regarding recent regulations which expand the classes of persons who may take statutory declarations. clarifying that the regulations do not apply to affidavits or Enduring Powers of Attorney, nor do they amend the manner in with statutory declarations are to be taken. Read the advice from the Attorney General regarding Statutory Declarations. 

 


Support for commercial tenancies 

Posted 20 April 2020 

Regulations have been passed to assist commercial tenancies affected by COVID-19. If a lessee has suffered financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, a lessor cannot take action on the grounds of a breach of the lease for a prescribed period.  For more information read “Essential Information for Lessees and Lessors dealing with COVID-19” on the Small Business Commissioner’s website.  View the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases) Regulations 2020.


Guide to use of Video-Link under the Evidence Convention

Posted 20 April 2020 

The Hague Conference of Private International Law has made its Guide to Good Practice on the Use of Video-Link under the Evidence Convention available free of charge.
Download the guide.



New COVID-19 laws include measures to continue legal services

Posted 9 April 2020 

The Society has been working actively to ensure the people can access legal services in the face of current and any further restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Government’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020, which passed the Parliament on 8 April 2020, includes a number of measures which were sought by the Society in a letter to the Attorney General.

These measures:

  • provide regulation making powers to modify the requirements relating to documents including the preparation, signing, witnessing, attestation, certification, stamping etc;
  • allow for any legislative requirements that a meeting occur or that some transaction take place that requires 2 or more people to be physically present, to be taken to be satisfied if the meeting or transaction takes place remotely (i.e. via audio visual or other means of communication);
  • amend service of documents requirements to include additional methods such as electronic means; and
  • includes an ability to extend of statutory time limits/requirements where required due to COVID-19.

Now that these regulation making powers and other arrangements are in place, the Society will be working closely with the Attorney-General to ensure appropriate modifications can be made and relevant impediments addressed, to ensure that the profession can provide important services to the public to operate both safely and effectively throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amendments to the Legal Services Award 

Posted 9 April 2020 

The Fair Work Commission has confirmed that the Legal Services Award (among other Modern Awards) has been amended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More (Members Only)...

Clerks – Private Sector Award determination

Posted 3 April 2020
 
 
The Fair Work Commission made a determination on 28 March to vary the Clerks - Private Sector Award 2010 to provide to provide greater flexibility regarding employees’ classifications and duties, minimum engagement/pay for part-time and casual employees, span of hours changes while working at home, full-time and part-time employees' hours of work and the taking of annual leave.


Standard Property Documents - COVID 19 Annexures

Posted 2 April 2020

The Property Committee has prepared COVID 19 Annexures for each of the residential and non-residential Contracts of the Sale and Purchase of Land, which are available to those who subscribe to the Society’s suite of Standard Property Documents. Visit the Standard Property Documents page to subscribe and access the annexures.

Law Society releases COVID-19 practice management guide

Posted 31 March 2020

In recognition of the COVID-19 crisis the Ethics and Practice Unit of the Society has prepared a COVID 19 – Practice Management Information and Strategies guide which references State and Federal Government business initiatives particularly relevant to small to medium law practices, and provides advice on the observance  of certain regulatory and ethical matters in the current circumstances that will be relevant to all law practices. Please email any questions to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au


Providing an essential service during a pandemic 

Posted 30 March 2020 

The Law Society has been in regular contact with Government representatives and heads of jurisdiction to ensure that the provision of legal services can be maintained and conducted in a safe manner amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Practice of law as an essential service

The Society has written to the Attorney-General to seek confirmation and guidance as to whether legal services will be considered an “essential service” in the event of further restrictions. The Society suggested that legal services would be required during an emergency period and that some processes that have typically involved face-to face interaction, such as verification of identity procedures, may need to be amended during an emergency period. The Society will inform Members of any response provided by the Attorney-General.

Strategies to mitigate COVID-19 impact on lawyers

The Society is seeking the views of its Special Interest Committees as to the impact of COVID-19 on legal practice and services. The Society will be raising these issues with the relevant heads of jurisdiction and the Attorney-General and will be providing suggested solutions and temporary measures (as informed by its Special Interest Committees) to ensure the profession can continue to provide legal services to the community.

Advocating for modified practices to maintain provision of legal services

The Society has sought to address a number of issues raised by Members in response to the COVID-19 emergency. These include but are not limited to, matters arising in the Magistrates Court and the increased use of technology to facilitate remote access/attendance and ensure that the justice system can continue to operate safely and effectively.

Health & safety in correctional facilities  

The Society is in regular contact with the Department of Corrections to seek updates as to prisoner health and measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities and beyond. The Society has written to the Department on a number of occasions on behalf of its Criminal Law Committee, including with suggestions as to how increased use of technology and telephone services can ensure practitioners are able to access clients safely. The Society has also written to the Minister for Correctional Services, asking him to consider the early release of low-risk prisoners in light of growing fears of a COVID-19 outbreak occurring in a correctional facility. 

Law Society's $1.8 million COVID 19 package to support practitioners

Pinned post

The Law Society is proud to announce a once-off $1.8 million rebate support package to help Members and insureds during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Click here for full details of the support package


Guide to use of Video-Link under the Evidence Convention

Posted 20 April 2020 

The Hague Conference of Private International Law has made its Guide to Good Practice on the Use of Video-Link under the Evidence Convention available free of charge. Download the guide.


Practice Management Information and Strategies 

Posted 31 March 2020  Practice Management Support

Law practice management is difficult at the best of times. In the current circumstances it is overwhelming.

In recognition of this the Ethics and Practice Unit of the Society has prepared a COVID 19 – Practice Management Information and Strategies guide which references State and Federal Government business initiatives particularly relevant to small to medium law practices, and provides advice on the observance  of certain regulatory and ethical matters in the current circumstances that will be relevant to all law practices.

Please email any questions to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au.

Regulation 33(3)(b) Waiver

Regulation 33(3)(b) of the Legal Practitioners Regulations 2014 states that, during April of each year, all law practices with trust accounts must give the Society written notice of the associates of the practice (including their full name and residential addresses) who are authorised, as at 31 March of that year –

 

  1. to sign cheques drawn on a general trust account of the practice; or
  2. otherwise to effect, direct or give authority for the withdrawal of money from a general trust account of the practice,

 

Given the difficult circumstances the Council of the Society has resolved as follows:

        That, pursuant to Regulation 56, the Society waives the notification requirements under Regulation 33(3)(b) with respect to April 2020 on the proviso that practitioners respond to specific requests by Society officers for such information in a timely manner.

Please note that the waiver only relates to the requirement to notify the Society.

Combined Trust Account

The current Combined Trust Account (CTA) period will end on 31 May 2020 with deposits or notices of withholding due by 14 June 2020.

To assist the profession the Society has decided to make its online CTA calculator available to all members of the profession on a temporary basis. The CTA calculator is a member service funded by and usually restricted to Society members. The calculator is being made available on a temporary basis to the wider profession as a result of the COVID 19 emergency but will revert to being a member service only when restrictions are relaxed.

The Society reassures the profession that it will be taking a proportionate and pragmatic approach with respect to the imposition of penalty interest in the event of CTA non-compliance and, where it is appropriate to do so, will be remitting interest in part or in whole (in accordance with its internal policies).

If you have any questions or concerns with respect to any of the information in this Practitioner Alert please send an email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au.


How are you? No, how are you really?


THE QUESTION:

How are you? No, how are you really?

Exhausted? Agitated? A bit down? Are you finding it hard to get to sleep or to switch off from work? Read More (Members Only)...


An important message about Wellbeing & Resilience 

Posted 25 March 2020 
 

We are hearing a lot about handwashing and social distancing at the moment (and rightly so) – but what about the other things we need to be doing to look after ourselves and our family, friends and colleagues?

Lawyers right across SA are facing uncertainty, disrupted income, health issues, worry about their loved ones, and so on… These challenges can produce effects such as exhaustion, detachment from others, insomnia, poor eating habits and irritability. And, of course, an increased risk of experiencing anxiety and depression.

Some of the usual recommendations for keeping ourselves mentally healthy and resilient aren’t very helpful at a time like this where social isolation is mandated for the foreseeable future.   The isolation of working remotely without the usual day to day interactions with your colleagues will likely take its toll. 

The gym is no longer an option. Connecting with friends and family over dinner has been ruled out. Even getting some quiet time on your own at home might be difficult now if everyone in the household is working or studying from home.

The Law Society’s Wellbeing and Resilience Committee wants to remind you that there are a range of services still available to support you at this difficult time and there is a lot you can do to take care of yourself despite the restrictions on movement and interaction.

Our top five tips for your wellbeing and resilience:

1.     Stay connected – there are so many ways to do this online now. Share a Spotify playlist, have a video call through Skype or FB Messenger, play games against colleagues or friends online… This is particularly important for people who are working from home and are therefore physically isolated from colleagues as well as their family and friends. For more inspiration, click here.

2.      Keep physically active – use this as an opportunity to work on your (solo) running or explore the millions of free exercise videos online. Chris Hemsworth is offering a free trial of his fitness/lifestyle app, Centr, and there are lots of other free options to choose from as well. Your gym might even be offering some free online content. Even if you are only working out in your lounge room – you will still get the same boost to your physical and mental health.

3.      Focus on what you can control – there is a lot that we can’t control, predict or even understand at the moment. Taking charge where we can will help us to combat anxiety. So create a new daily routine for yourself, decide on some projects you want to spend your weekends at home working on, and make sure you get enough sleep.

4.      Practice meditation and mindfulness – much of the anxiety we feel comes from rehashing what we have already lived through and obsessing over what might happen next. That is a normal response to a situation like this but meditation and mindfulness can bring us back to the present moment and therefore help us to keep anxiety at bay. There are lots of apps which make this really easy, such as HeadSpace and InsightTimer.

5.      Give yourself some enjoyable distractions – don’t just work and scroll through news feeds. Here is one of the many central resources for suggestions about podcasts, books, TV shows, movies and much more to keep the whole household amused. 

Our top three resources if you need some support:

1.       Lifeline is still available to you 24/7. They offer phone, text and online chat services. They also have some suggestions about getting through this period.

2.       BeyondBlue services are also still available via phone and chat.

3.       LawCare Counselling service remains available via phone and face-to-face.

If you are interested in learning more, click here for more apps, fact sheets and websites. You can also access our free Online Wellbeing and Resilience Program (for which you can claim 1 CPD point) and a Wellbeing and Resilience Guide.

Wellbeing & Resilience Committee 

Practitioner Support Links 


LawCare and support groups 

Ethics Enquiry Service 

Wellbeing & Resilience Resources

Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Court Updates and Information webpages 

Pinned post 

Courts Administration Authority Coronavirus COVID-19 Information

South Australian Employment Tribunal website

South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal website


Arrangements for courts from Monday 23 November 2020

Posted 23 November 2020 


Court buildings will reopen from Monday, 23 November 2020. Court users are reminded to follow the directions of SA Health in relation to the . If any of these directions apply to you or if you are unwell, do not enter a court building.

Courts continue with COVID-19 hygiene and social distancing requirements.

The following arrangements are in place for courts as of Monday, 23 November 2020.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will resume normal operations from Monday 23 November 2020. Counsel in matters that were adjourned on account of the stay-at-home direction who would like to have that matter brought on before the adjourned date should contact the chambers of the Judge or Master who adjourned the matter to arrange its re-listing.

Supreme Court Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289


District Court

For the week beginning 23 November 2020:

  • Any matters that were adjourned by the court will proceed as advised on the new date.
  • No new jury trials will be commenced.

District Court Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289



Criminal Enquiries

p: (08) 8204 2444



Environment, Resources and Development Court

Any matters that were adjourned by the court will proceed as advised on the new date.

ERD Court Enquiries

p: (08) 804 0289



Magistrates Court

The Magistrates Court will reopen on Monday 23 November 2020.

Criminal Jurisdiction

The following courts will be sitting on Monday 23 November 2020 and Tuesday 24 November 2020:

  • Adelaide
  • Christies Beach
  • Elizabeth
  • Port Adelaide
  • Berri
  • Port Augusta

The abovementioned courts will only hear a limited range of criminal matters, those being:

  • Defendants that are remanded in custody whose scheduled next appearance falls on Monday and Tuesday.
  • All overnight arrests.
  • Urgent applications and urgent intervention order applications.

Normal listings will resume on 25 November 2020 at all court locations.

Circuits were and remain cancelled for the week commencing 23 November 2020.

Circuits will proceed for the week commencing 30 November 2020.

Civil Jurisdiction

All civil jurisdiction matters listed in Adelaide for the week commencing 23 November 2020 were adjourned to a date to be advised.

Urgent civil applications may be heard with approval by the Regional Manager Civil.

Contact details

P: (08) 8204 2444

e: 

Youth Court

Criminal Jurisdiction

  • Lockdown arrangements will remain in place until Tuesday 24 November.
  • Normal listing arrangements will resume on Tuesday 24 November.
  • Matters that have been adjourned in response to the COVID-19 lockdown will retain the new listing date.

Care and Protection Jurisdiction

  • All Re-unification matters listed for 25 November will proceed.
  • All urgent removals will be heard within the 5 days from the date of removal.
  • All first return matters listed will be heard on the day listed and time listed.
  • Matters with orders due to expire on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 November will be heard.
  • Normal listing arrangements will resume on Wednesday 25 November.

Contact details for Criminal matters

P: (08) 82040330

E: 

Care and Protection: 

Coroners Court

The Coroners Court will be open to the public.

Coroner's Office:

p: (08) 8204 0600



For further information contact the CourtSA Registry Services on (08) 8204 2444 or refer to the CAA website: www.courts.sa.gov.au.

Arrangements for the South Australian Employment Tribunal from Monday 23 November 2020 

 

Posted 23 November 2020 


The Honourable President Justice Dolphin has advised the Attendances at SAET – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic responses – 19 November 2020 communique is rescinded.

As of Monday 23 November 2020, in accordance with South Australian Government advice and directions with regards to the recent Covid-19 cluster outbreak, the Tribunal is adopting the following practices.

Criteria for attending SAET in-person

Anyone attending SAET in-person must meet the Criteria for attending SAET in-person. The criteria is available at 

Matters before Commissioners

Until further notice, all scheduled hearings and conference, including those scheduled to be conducted in-person, will be conducted by teleconference.

Matters before Presidential Members

Unless advised by the Tribunal, hearings and conferences will be conducted as scheduled. All queries should be directed to the individual chambers.

Review

The SAET will continue to review its position in accordance with changing circumstances, updated Australian and State government protocols and the advice of health experts.



Magistrates Court of South Australia 

Posted 20 November 2020 

Between 19 November 2020 and 24 November 2020 inclusive (the period), the Magistrates Court Buildings will be closed. Urgent matters will be heard in the Adelaide Magistrates Court and Elizabeth Magistrates Court by AVL or phone and are restricted to the following:

Criminal Jurisdiction 

Defendants that are remanded in custody whose scheduled next appearance falls within the above dates
All overnight arrests
Urgent Applications and Urgent Intervention Order applications.

All other matters listed during the period will be re-listed in the next 4-6 weeks to a date and time to be advised.

Civil Jurisdiction

All civil jurisdiction matters listed during the period have been adjourned to a date to be advised. Urgent civil applications will only be heard if approved by the Regional Manager civil.

For more information, please see the listing updates published by the Courts Administration Authority:

Adelaide Magistrates Court 
Elizabeth Magistrates Court 

and the CAA Coronavirus COVID-19 Information webpage, which is updated regularly. 


Attendances at the South Australian Employment Tribunal 

Posted 19 November 2020 

The Honourable President Justice Dolphin has advised that as a result of the South Australian Government’s Emergency Management (Stay at Home) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 during this COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period, the public and professional facing operations of the South Australian Employment Tribunal will be affected. As of today, 19 November 2020, SAET is adopting the following practices. They are also cognisant of the fact that working from home may adversely affect the ability of representatives to be properly and fully prepared for any particular case.
  
No in-person attendance at SAET
  
There will be no public access to the Riverside Building, other than for essential services. As such, SAET cannot be physically accessed. Contact to SAET will only be via email (saet@sa.gov.au). For urgent dust disease matters or urgent industrial disputes requiring immediate action telephone Registry on (08) 8207 0999.
  
Matters before Commissioners
  
As previous, all scheduled hearings and conferences, including those scheduled to be conducted in-person, will continue to be by teleconference.
  
Matters before Presidential Members
  
In-person conferences and hearings cannot proceed with the current restrictions. Chambers will contact the parties in any particular listed case to make alternative arrangements. Whilst some conferences and hearings may be able to proceed via telephone or MS Teams, others may not. The parties are to consider what arrangements may work best in each case.
  
Review
  
The SAET will review its position at the end of the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period and in accordance with changing circumstances, updated South Australian Government advice and directives, and the advice of health experts.


COVID-19 Lockdown arrangements for courts 

Posted on 18 November 2020 

The Courts have issued a media release advising the following arrangements are in place for the period 19 November to 24 November 2020.

All court buildings will be closed to the public.

Supreme Court and District Court

All matters that are currently listed in the Supreme Court and District Court over the next six days will be adjourned. The court will only hear urgent matters during that period. At first instance, any application for an urgent hearing must be made to the appropriate Registry via the contact details set out below.

Civil matters can be lodged through the .

Supreme Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289

supreme.registry@courts.sa.gov.au


District Court Civil Enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 0289

e: district.civil@courts.sa.gov.au


Criminal enquiries:

p: (08) 8204 2444

e: ccrcs@courts.sa.gov.au


Environment, Resources and Development Court

All matters that are currently listed in the Environment, Resources and Development Court over the next six days will be adjourned.


Magistrates Court

The Magistrates Court will only hear overnight custody matters, urgent bail matters and Police Intervention Orders over the next six days. The court buildings will be closed on those days and all other matters listed will be adjourned. Further details will be provided.

P: (08) 8204 2444

e: enquiry@courts.sa.gov.au


Youth Court

The Adelaide Youth Court will operate with a skeleton staff for the purpose of hearing urgent matters only. Urgent matters are restricted to the following:

Criminal Jurisdiction

  • Matters remanding youths in custody and listed for hearing during the six day lockdown, will be further remanded to 25 November 2020;
  • All overnight arrests will be heard by a Judicial Officer in the General list at 11.30am. All matters will be heard via AVL;
  • All Intervention order matters will be heard;
  • All other matters listed during the period of the lockdown will be re-listed in the next 4-5 weeks to a date and time to be advised.


Care and Protection Jurisdiction

  • All Re-unification matters will be adjourned to a date and time to be advised;
  • All urgent removals will be heard within the five days from the date of removal;
  • All first return matters listed between 19/11/20 and 24/11/2020 will be heard on the day listed, the time of the hearings will be advised;
  • Matters with orders due to expire during the lockdown period will be heard.


All hearings at the Youth Court for both jurisdictions will be heard via AVL, Webex or phone link.

Contact details for Criminal matters

p: (08) 82040330: (08) 82040330

e: : youthcourt@courts.sa.gov.au

Care and Protection: careandprotectionyouthcourt@courts.sa.gov.au


Coroners Court

The Coroners Court will be closed to the public.

Coroner's Office:

p: (08) 8204 0600

e: coroner@courts.sa.gov.au


For further information contact the CourtSA Registry Services on (08) 8204 2444 or refer to the CAA website: www.courts.sa.gov.au.



District Court Jury Trials 

Posted 18 November 2020 

The Chief Judge has advised that in light of current SA Health recommendations, the District Court sitting in Adelaide will not commence new jury trials for the remainder of this week. The position in relation to jury trials listed to commence next week will remain under review. An update in relation to those trials will be provided by Friday 20 November 2020.

 

All other hearings including civil trials and direction hearings, judge alone criminal trials, pre-trial arguments, bail applications, guilty pleas, arraignments and sentencing will not be affected.

 

If you have a matter in court and need further information, please contact CourtSA Registry Services on 8204 2444 or enquiry@courts.sa.gov.au.



CAA Update: Court appearances during current COVID-19 restrictions 

Posted 17 November 2020 

The Courts Administration Authority has written to the Society to provide the following updated guidelines and information for the profession in reference to all matters before the Supreme and District Court Masters as of Wednesday, 18 November 2020.

 

Given the current restrictions due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Masters are aware that there may be some concern and confusion regarding court appearances during this time.

 

Directions hearings and arguments will continue to be conducted in court with appropriate physical distancing and hygiene precautions.

 

However, the Masters recognise that some practitioners will be working from home or reluctant to attend court in person.

 

If a practitioner has a condition that makes them vulnerable to infection or they are generally concerned and do not wish to or feel comfortable to come into Court they should advise Chambers at least 24 hours prior to the hearing and make arrangements for a remote attendance via either Webex or telephone link.

 

Whilst in court, parties are not to approach court staff at a distance closer than 1.5 metres and no documents will be handed up in court but must be sent electronically to Chambers prior to the hearing.

 

Supreme Court mediations will continue as listed, although the venue may change at short notice (while still remaining within the Court precinct). Please check with the Sheriff’s officers on your arrival at Court.

 

Settlement conferences are to be held between the parties at an alternate venue. A directions hearing will be convened (by email) shortly after the current date for the settlement conference, to allow the parties to advise the Court of the outcome and for consequential orders to be made. For conferences to be listed in the future, they will be listed on the basis that a time for an email directions hearing will be given, with the settlement conference to be held prior to that time.

 

Practitioners are not to come to the Court, if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • loss of sense of smell
  • shortness of breath
  • have visited sites listed on the SA Health website as being connected with the outbreak and/or
  • have had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last 14 days.

These measures will be implemented from 18 November 2020 and will operate until further notice.



Jury Trials - Supreme Court and District Court 

Posted 1 October 2020 

Please find attached a General News Release from the Courts Administration Authority advising that following consultation with SA Health, multiple courtrooms will not be used for Supreme and District Court jury trials commencing after 6 October 2020. 

New jury trials commencing from Tuesday 6 October 2020 will be conducted in a single courtroom using the existing dedicated jury facilities. 

The Court will maintain cleaning and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the court. 



COVID-19 Supreme Court practice changes revoked 

Posted 2 September 2020 

Please find attached a news release from the Chief Justice advising that on 31 August 2020, the Supreme Court Judges’ resolved to revoke the COVID-19 practice changes of 20 March 2020, subject to the following.

Public health measure adapted to the directions and recommendations of public health authority will be maintained. The UCR will be amended so that submissions, rather than outlines, will be required in all appeal matters before the Court. In the case of applications for permission to appeal in criminal matters, those submissions must be provided three business days before the day on which the application is listed. 


District Court jury trial listing information 

Posted 30 July 2020 and updated 1 October 2020 

The Chief Judge has advised that District Court jury trials will be commencing in full from the first week in August. However, the number of listed jury trials able to be reached, will be limited by the impact of COVID-19 social distancing recommendations on the use of courtrooms. These restrictions will impact the in-court configuration for the jury, the empanelment of juries, the jury deliberation room as well as the induction of jury pools.

To maximise the use of these limited resources it is proposed that where appropriate, matters may be held in the list longer than current practice. For example, it may be that some trials that would have been not reached on a Tuesday or Wednesday may now be held for a commencement on a Thursday or Friday or perhaps even to commence in the following week.

Counsel/parties and potential witnesses should be aware that they may need to be available into the following week in case their matter runs over.

In accordance with the current practice, the Registry and court listings will be the first point of contact for counsel/parties as to whether their matters will be reached on the day they are listed or whether they will be held in the list. Where appropriate a matter may be listed for a directions hearing before a Judge to determine whether it should continue to be held in the list.



All Matters Before Adelaide Magistrates Court - Civil from 10 August 2020

 Posted 29 July 2020 

Please find attached a media release from the Chief Magistrate. It advises revised directives to parties and practitioners regarding appearances in Court from 10 August 2020 consistent with SA Government guidelines relating to the management of public places during the COVID-19 health emergency. 


Environment, Resources and Development Court

 Posted 26 June 2020 

The Senior Judge of the Environment, Resources and Development Court has advised by general news release of 22 June 2020 that forthwith, all listing practices in the ERD Court, will return to normal including conferences. All matters will be heard in Court, unless other arrangements are made by or with chambers approval prior to the hearing or conference.

Requests for administrative adjournments and other requests must be received at least two business days prior to any hearing or conference.


All matters before the Adelaide Magistrates Court - from 22 June 2020

Posted 22 June 2020

In response to the COVID-19 emergency
the Chief Magistrates has advised the following updated arrangements will be implemented as of today.

General - in Court:

Parties and practitioners are not to come to the Court, if they have:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • travelled from the ACT, New South Wales, Victoria or overseas in the last 14 days and/or
  • had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last 14 days

If a party or practitioner has a condition that makes them vulnerable to infection and for that reason does not feel safe attending at the Court, they should advise Registry at least 24 hours prior to the hearing and provide a direct contact phone number for the purpose of appearing at the hearing by phone.

At the Court, parties and practitioners are not to approach Court staff and must always maintain a distance from others that is greater than 1.5 metres.

No documents are to be handed up in Court. Documents of less than 10 pages may be lodged electronically on the CourtSA website (Portal, see details below) the day prior to the hearing.

Parties and practitioners are reminded of the requirement that all parties must be copied in to any email communication with the Court.

Communication with the Court is required to be via the CourtSA website (Portal) https://courtsa.courts.sa.gov.au or amcregistry@courts.sa.gov.au

These measures will be in operation until further notice. They may be revised as new public health announcements are made. 



All matters before Adelaide Magistrates Court - Civil - from 15 June 2020

Posted 12 June 2020

Please find attached an announcement from the Chief Magistrate advising updated COVID-19 arrangements which will be implemented as of 15 June 2020 with respect to all civil matters before the Court. These measures will operate until further notice. 


Matters before Supreme Court Masters to return to normal from 9 June 2020

Posted 27 May 2020 

The Masters of the Supreme Court have today advised that, from Tuesday 9 June 2020, all listing practices, including mediations, will return to normal. All matters will be heard in court, unless other arrangements are made with chambers prior to the hearing.
 

For matters up to and including 5 June 2020, the current protocols will continue to apply, except where they have been modified in consultation with chambers.

All inquiries should be directed to Ms Giles at chambers.dart@courts.sa.gov.au or Mrs Palmer, at chambers.bochner@courts.sa.gov.au.


All matters before District Court Masters from 1 June 2020

Posted 26 May 2020 


The District Court Masters have today advised that, from Monday 1 June 2020, all listing practices, including settlement conferences, will return to normal. All matters will be heard in court, unless other arrangements are made with chambers prior to the hearing.

Parties and practitioners are expected to observe social distancing requirements.

Parties are not to physically approach court staff in the court.

Requests for administrative adjournments must be received at least 2 business days prior to the directions hearing.

For matters up to and including 29 May 2020, the current protocols will continue to apply, except where they have been modified in consultation with chambers.

Practitioners are reminded that if they are in self-isolation, quarantine, are in any way unwell, or have been in contact with someone who has returned from overseas or interstate within the last 14 days, they are NOT to enter the Sir Samuel Way Building.

If a practitioner has a condition that makes them vulnerable to infection or they are generally concerned and do not wish to come into Court they should advise Chambers at least 24 hours prior to the hearing and make alternative satisfactory arrangements.

All enquiries should be directed to dcmastersjso@courts.sa.gov.au



Jury trials to recommence soon

Posted 18 May 2020

The District Court advised on 18 May 2020 that it will bring forward the recommencement of jury trials, for a small number of matters, to the second week in May. The Court is intending to have one matter run in each of the second, third and fourth weeks of July, as a controlled step up, to the previously announced staged resumption of jury trials from 1 August 2020.

The Court will communicate with the parties of those jury trials identified to commence in July; any queries in relation to the listing of matters should be directed at first instance to the Criminal Registry.

All other matters are to proceed in accordance with the Court’s previous announcement of 8 May 2020; namely, the Mount Gambier Circuit in July will proceed as a normal circuit with jury trials. Country circuits thereafter will also proceed as normal circuits with jury trials. The Court will be seeking advice from SA Health with regards to re-introducing jury trials, and will ensure any social distancing or other health guidelines are followed. This may require two courtrooms to be set aside for each jury trial, which would impact the listing of trials. Read the full statement from the Courts Administration Authority



SAET - Witnessing of affidavits

Posted 30 April 2020

Please find
attached a Practice Direction of 28 April 2020 regarding the witnessing of affidavits during the COVID-19 pandemic. It clarifies the Tribunal's expectations in relation to the acceptance of unsworn affidavits and in doing so advises the Tribunal will adopt the Practice Note of the Supreme Court and District Court of 16 April 2020. 


SACAT Update

Posted 29 April 2020

SACAT has issued Practice Directions to acknowledge that hearings may take place without the public in attendance and to ensure that documents are provided electronically.
You can read the new practice directions here.

Following enactment of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020, SACAT has new responsibilities in the housing and guardianship areas. You can find further information on the changes to housing here and guardianship here.

At present SACAT is:
  • Operating with the public reception desks closed to face-to-face service
  • Providing reception services via telephone and email
  • Requiring documents to be provided electronically
  • Suspending the requirement for physical attendance at hearings
  • Conducting the majority of hearings by telephone or video.
  • In a some cases, only in accordance with public health information and if social distancing is available, determining that it will be preferable for there to be physical attendance at SACAT.
  • Deferring matters only if that is the most suitable approach at this time
  • Conducting all non-essential meetings, presentations and training by video conference, telephone conference, email correspondence or deferring, as appropriate.

If you have documents to submit, please email the documents to sacat@sacat.sa.gov and include the case reference number.

For assistance to lodge an online application please call 1800 723 767 and SACAT staff will assist over the telephone.



Delay in the commencement of the Uniform Court Civil Rules and CourtSA Civil

Posted 23 April 2020 

The Courts Administration Authority advised on 22 April 2020 that the commencement of the Uniform Court Civil Rules and the CourtSA Civil electronic management system has been delayed until 18 May 2020.   

The Rules and CourtSA Civil have been delayed due to problems experienced by the CAA’s specialist IT workforce due to COVID 19 restrictions.   The CAA’s media release is available here

The Society understands there will be a transitional period post 18 May 2020 during which documents can be emailed to the CAA.  Details will be advised, once published by the CAA.

The CourtSA portal contains a range of videos and information, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. 


Applications to the Probate Registry 

Posted 20 April 2020 

The Courts Administration Authority has advised that the recent Practice Note with regards to the  Witnessing of Affidavits during COVID-19 does not apply to the Probate Registry. The notice reads: Applications to the Probate Registry are not included in the Practice Note released by the Supreme Court and District Court on 16 April 2020 titled Witnessing of Affidavits during COVID-19.



Magistrates Court of South Australia - Administrative Adjournments 

Posted 9 April 2020 

Please find attached a letter of 8 April 2020 from the Chief Magistrate. It advises the scope for defence requests seeking an administrative adjournment has been widened to enable the Registry to action requests without the requirement to seek Magistrate approval for each matter. 


Magistrates Court new COVID-19 Listing Arrangements and hearing procedures from 6 April 2020

Posted 6 April 2020 

The Society has been working with the Magistrates Court with respect to measures to deal with COVID-19.New procedures and arrangements have been put in place as of 6 April 2020 across the various Magistrates Courts. 



District Court civil and criminal matters

Posted 30 March 2020

Please find
attached an announcement (27 March 2020) of the District Court of South Australia which details a number of arrangements implemented by the Court. It advises the suspension of new jury trials will be extended so that no new jury trial will commence in the District Court of South Australia prior to 1 July 2020.


South Australian Employment Tribunal

Posted 26 March 2020 

Please find attached an announcement of 25 March 2020 from the Hon Justice President Steven Dolphin, President of the SAET. It advises procedures for urgent hearings to take the plaintiff’s evidence in Dust Disease cases.


Supreme Court - practice changes 

Posted 24 March 2020 

Please find attached a memorandum from the Chief Justice. The memorandum records the resolution of the Judges and Masters of the Supreme Court made at a special meeting held on Friday, 20 March 2020, to modify the practice and procedure of the Court to address the risk to public health caused by the Covid-19 virus pandemic.

The proceduresin relation to matters before Supreme Court Masters were reviewed on 27 May 2020 and will take effect from 9 June 2020. 

 

South Australian Employment Tribunal 

Posted 18 March 2020 

Please find attached a media release of 18 March 2020 from the Honourable President Justice Dolphin advising a number of measures which were implemented as of Thursday 19 March 2020. 

Some practices of the SAET have been revised as of Monday 15 June 2020. 

Court Updates and Information webpages 

Pinned post 

Federal Circuit Court COVID-19 Updates and Information

Family Court of Australia COVID-19 Updates and Information


Family Court and Federal Circuit Court COVID-19 measures 

Posted 18 November 2020 


Following the South Australian Premier’s announcement regarding a number of important COVID-19 related restrictions effective midnight, the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) have made some urgent operational changes in the Adelaide Registry.

In order to continue to provide the Courts’ important service during this time, the following changes will be in place until 24 November 2020, unless a further extension is announced by Government:

  • all hearings scheduled will be run remotely, and parties and witnesses must appear via Microsoft Teams or telephone;
  •  where Child Dispute Services (CDS) interviews are scheduled to occur with adult parties, interviews will be conducted by Microsoft Teams (or by telephone if this is not possible); where CDS interviews or observations are scheduled to occur with children, CDS will consider the individual circumstances of each case to form a view as to whether it is safe and appropriate to conduct the interview remotely; and
  • all duty lawyer and legal support services which are run out the Court in Adelaide will need to be provided remotely.


These changes will be closely reviewed in line with Government health advice and restrictions.



Federal Court of Australia - Adelaide Registry 

Posted 8 October 2020 

The Federal Court of Australia advised on 7 October 2020 that it proposes to resume in person hearings at the Adelaide Registry, subject to appropriate precautions.  Whether or not a hearing will be conducted in person is a matter for the particular Judge or Judges presiding.  Where judges, witnesses and counsel are participating from outside of South Australia and are not in a position to appear in South Australia, arrangements for video facilities may need to be pursued. 


Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court in Victoria during Stage 4 restrictions 

Posted 5 August 2020 

Please find attached a statement of 5 August 2020 from the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Hon Justice Alstergren. It advises the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) will continue to remain open during the new stage 4 restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne. The Courts’ operations will continue via Microsoft Teams, and also by telephone in certain circumstances. Unless otherwise notified, all trials and applications will go ahead, and the National COVID-19 Lists will continue to operate. Hearings will be conducted by Judges, Registrars and staff from their homes if possible but otherwise they will be in the Court buildings if a case is required to proceed and working from home is not reasonably practicable.



Federal Court of Australia 

Posted 4 August 2020 

Please find attached an update of 4 August 2020 from the Federal Court of Australia advising revised court measures and arrangements, following the Victorian Premier's announcement on 3 August relating to COVID-19 Stage 4 restrictions for businesses. 


Federal Court of Australia 

Posted 13 July 2020 

The Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, Hon James Allsop has advised by letter of 10 July 2020 that the change of circumstances in Victoria and the border closures in other States have necessitated an amended approach to in-person hearings.

In-person hearings in Melbourne have been suspended. However, there will be cases in other registries where there has been permission given for an in-person hearing where there may be Victorian parties, legal representatives or witnesses (assuming they may travel to other States lawfully).

In these circumstances. The Chief Justice does not propose to permit in-person hearings in other registries where it is intended that Victorian parties, legal representatives or witnesses would appear personally.

His Honour has asked all all judges to look at the cases where they have either been granted permission or are seeking permission to have an in-person hearing to see the extent of the issue. This may not mean that the case cannot be heard in-person to some degree, but it will not involve people coming from Victoria to be present at the in-person hearing.



Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Posted 26 June 2020

Please find attached an update of 24 June 2020 from the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia advising updated COVID-19 Registrar and Child Dispute Services listing measures and arrangements. The In-Person Interview Protocol to which it refers is also attached

 

Federal Court of Australia - Limited in-person hearings to commence

Updated 13 July 2020

Please find attached Update 24 (19 June 2020) from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Hon James Allsop, with its attachment Special Measures Information Notice SMIN-4. It advises that as infection rates and government restrictions ease, the opportunities for a limited return to in-person attendance in Court will increase for matters that are essential to be heard in person.

Limits on the number of people within the Court precinct are in place and all of the Court’s buildings have been assessed and prepared to ensure appropriate physical distancing can be maintained. 

This advice, as it relates to in-person hearings in Victoria or matters in other registries involving Victorian parties, legal representatives or witnesses was revised on 10 July 2020. In person-hearings in Melbourne have been suspended and the Chief Justice does not propose to permit in-person hearings in other registries where it is intended that Victorian parties, legal representatives or witnesses would appear personally.

 

Gradual resumption of face-to-face hearings in the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia from 15 June 2020

Posted 15 June 2020

The Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Hon Justice Alstergren has advised the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are extending the face-to-face protocols currently in place to allow urgent trials and urgent hearings of applications that cannot be conducted by Microsoft Teams to be heard in face-to-face hearings commencing 15 June 2020.

Whilst the Courts have been able to conduct over 80% of their work via electronic hearings since March 2020, it is recognised that there are some proceedings that require a hearing in person. Given the health concerns and social distancing requirements, a full utilisation of courtrooms may take some months as restrictions are eased. However, the Courts will open 4 courtrooms in each major registry starting today. This will be increased as soon as the Courts are are able to.

Strict social distancing and capacity requirements will have to be met not only in respect to space within courtrooms but also in respect to people queuing at security and waiting to use an elevator. An updated In Court Face-to-Face Protocol is attached and will be on each Court’s website.

The salient features of the protocol are:

  • Hearing times will be staggered;
  • There will be strict social distancing requirements implemented in all common areas and courtrooms;
  • In courtrooms, no written appearances are to be provided to Associates. Appearances are to be orally announced at the start of the hearing;
  • No hardcopy documents are to be passed up during the hearing; an electronic court book is to be used where possible;
  • No more than 8 people plus court staff and a judicial officer are allow in the courtroom at any one time without leave of the judge;
  • Witnesses who are not parties will be required to leave the courtroom after giving evidence;
  • All present are encouraged to download and activate the COVID-19 app. Those who choose not to will be requested (not required) to provide their names and contact details for contact tracing requirements only if the Courts are required to provide that information to the health authorities if an outbreak occurs;
  • Practitioners and parties will not be able to go to other floors in the Court Registry save for the entrance and the floor their courtroom is located on, and should exit the Registry building promptly after the conclusion of their hearing.

This protocol will be updated from time to time and be sent to the Society for provision to practitioners prior to its implementation. 

 

Federal Court of Australia

 Posted 7 May 2020

Please find
attached Update 22 (4 May 2020) from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Hon James Allsop. It provides updates as to the triaging of incoming work and migration matters.

It also announces an independent review by Mr John McMillan AO into the issues surrounding potential non-compliance with section 91X of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (the Migration Act) relating to the Commonwealth Courts Portal and Federal Law Search.

 

Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia launch new urgent COVID-19 Lists

Posted 29 April 2020

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (‘the Courts’) have seen a significant increase in urgent applications filed since restrictions have been imposed as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These increases have the potential to overload particular Registries and Duty Lists and, if not properly managed, may lead to increased risks for children and vulnerable parties.

As a result, the Courts have established two dedicated, national specialist lists named the COVID-19 Lists. The Lists are aimed at dealing with urgent applications caused directly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lists will commence operation today.

A streamlined filing process has been established. Two National COVID-19 List Registrars have been appointed to oversee the Lists on a national basis, assessing the cases filed and, if they meet the criteria, allocating a first Court date within 3 business days. If the application is part of an existing proceeding and assigned to a Judge, the docketed Judge will be consulted prior to listing and may hear the application. Otherwise, it will be assigned to a Judge or Registrar nationally to be heard electronically.

Both the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice will be overseeing and monitoring the performance of the Lists.

If applications do not meet the criteria, but they are urgent they will go into the normal abridgement list. If they are not urgent they will be treated like any other application and be referred to the Duty Lists.

Please see the attached the Joint Practice Direction 3 of 2020 – The COVID-19 List for more information. The JPD will is available on a dedicated page on each Court’s Website as well as a template affidavit for each Court and a covering letter for urgency. See http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/about/news/jpd032020.


Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia 
Guide for Practitioners and Litigants to Virtual Hearings and Microsoft Teams (and other MS Teams tips)

 Posted 28 April 2020

The vast majority of appearances in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are currently being conducted electronically. To assist practitioners and litigants with the technical aspects of these appearances, the Courts have developed a Guide for Practitioners and Litigants to Virtual Hearings and Microsoft Teams. Please click
here to view the Guide.


Administrative Appeals Tribunal 
Special Measures Practice Directions

Posted 28 April 2020 


The President of the AAT has advised measures being taken by the AAT as a result of the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President has issued five Special Measures Practice Directions that set out how the AAT will operate while COVID-19 impacts our services. These are in effect from 29 April 2020 for the following divisions:

Read the President’s letter here



Federal Court of Australia

Posted 21 April 2020 

Update 21 (20 April 2020) from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Hon James Allsop is attached. It provides an update as to the use of Microsoft Teams and advises a revised course of action in relation to less urgent migration matters which had been “parked”.  


Federal Court of Australia

Posted 16 April 2020 

Update 18 (15 April 2020) from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Hon James Allsop is attached. It reminds practitioners and litigants that the same formal etiquette and protocol of a physical Court is expected in the Virtual Court.


Family Court of Australia

Posted 15 April 2020 

Please find attached Special Measures Information Note (SMIN-1) of the Family Court of Australia which sets out arrangements for the continued operation of the Appellate Division of the Family Court of Australia during the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia. The Note sets out guidance on:
  • registry operations;
  • electronic filing;
  • signatures on documents and affidavits;
  • arrangements for court listing;
  • contact details for each Regional Appeal Registry, and
  • open justice considerations.


Federal Court of Australia 

Posted 8 April 2020 

Please find attached Special Measures Information Note 3 (SMIN-3) which sets out arrangements for the conduct and management of appeals and Full Court hearings during the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia. All matters before the Full Court will be conducted as electronic appeals with the use of video-conferencing technology. SMIN-3 provides guidance for the preparation of electronic documents, including Appeal Books and Lists of Authorities, and other related requirements.

Update 16 (7 April 2020) from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Hon James Allsop is attached. It provides an update as to the Court’s capacity to conduct hearings via Microsoft Teams. It also advises the daily court lists will soon contain the listed hearings for a period of time (hopefully one to two weeks) in the future so as to enable people to choose which hearings to join electronically. 


Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Posted 6 April 2020

Due to the evolving nature of the Coronavirus and the necessity of promoting the health and safety of the community,
all proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court will be conducted by teleconference through AAPT GlobalMeet, unless advised of alternative arrangements directly by chambers.

Please find attached the directions to dial in for members of the profession practising in general federal law  and for those practising in family law matters.


Federal Court of Australia

Posted 6 April 2020

The Special Measures Information Notice issued on 23 March 2020 has been updated to provide further detail in respect of the Courts endeavours to keep registries open and operational through telephone and other online services,  the allocation of matters with a view to operating at about 50-60% capacity by remote means, the addition of information concerning communications with the Court and among parties,
and further  detail in respect of the Court’s use of remote technology as well considerations taken by the Court in respect of self-represented litigants. The updated version (31 March 2020) is attached. The Guide to Virtual Hearings and Microsoft Teams in conjunction with which it should be read is also attached

Please find attached the Special Measures Information Note (SMIN-2) Admiralty and Maritime which sets out arrangements for the issue of a warrant for the arrest of a ship during the COVID-19 pandemic and the considerations that parties and practitioners should consider when making an application for the issue of such a warrant.  These considerations include the availability of marshals, or their access, to effect arrests in the usual ways, particularly in light of public health and logistical restrictions.  It also highlights that parties and practitioners should be alert to the financial and legal implications of quarantine requirements for vessels which harbour the COVID-19 virus because a person suffering from COVID-19, or a person with symptoms of COVID-19, is, or was, on board, or because the vessel, or a person on the vessel, left a site of contamination. Lastly, the special measures information note outlines requirements for the payment of a deposit in advance, and if necessary from time to time, to enable the marshal to undertake the arrest and ongoing custody of a ship. 

 

Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Posted 1 April 2020 

Please find attached Joint Practice Direction 2 of 2020. It advises special measures which have been implemented, effective today, in relation to electronic filing; viewing of subpoenas; annexures to affidavits; signatures on documents and affidavits; and fees.

This Joint Practice Direction supersedes Family Court of Australia Practice Direction 2 of 2020 and Federal Circuit Court of Australia Practice Direction 3 of 2020.

Please find attached a letter of 31 March 2020 from the Hon Will Alstergren, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia in relation to Alternative Dispute Resolution, settlement and mediation services. Organisations who are providing services (particularly those undertaking mediation, FDR and/or arbitration work) during the current crises are invited to provide details of those services, including a short explanatory paragraph, to the Court for publication on its website. 


Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Posted 31 March 2020

The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have today published a series of Questions and Answers for parents who may have concerns relating to parenting arrangements amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Q&As are available from the Family Court of Australia website and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website


Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Posted 26 March 2020

Please find attached a statement of 26 March 2020 from the Hon Will Alstergren, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia. It provides parents with some general guidance and assures that whilst changes to the Courts’ operations have been implemented in accordance with the necessary restrictions placed on our community by the Commonwealth Government, the Courts remain open to assist Australian families in these challenging times.

Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia 

Posted 25 March 2020 

Members of the profession practising in family law are advised that the call-over of matters listed before Judge Heffernan on Tuesday 31st March 2020 is cancelled. Parties will be advised as soon as possible of a new date for call-over of those matters, which will be on a date in August 2020. Parties are excused from filing further call-over documents at this time.

Please find attached an important announcement of 25 March 2020 from the Adelaide Federal Circuit Court Judges. Among other matters, it advises that the Court will not be holding any final hearings until 31 July 2020. Each such trial listing will be cancelled and in lieu of final hearing be allocated a directions hearing listing either on the day originally listed for trial or proximate to it. The Court will continue to deal with matters which require urgent attention and management during this period of national crisis.

An update of 23 March 2020 concerning measures and listing arrangements for Registrars and Child Dispute Services is attached. The principal basis upon which work will be conducted in the Courts in the near future will be by telephone, and when it becomes possible, by videoconferencing. Only urgent matters will be dealt with by face-to-face hearings or interviews, which will be conducted pursuant to the attached face-to-face in court protocol (and courtroom diagram) and the attached face-to-face interview protocol (below).

Please find attached a Media Release of 18 March 2020 which provides a summary of the new arrangements for family law and general federal law cases. The aim of the arrangements is to ensure that all urgent and priority matters are able to be dealt with safely by the courts, whilst at the same time, ensuring appropriate social distancing is adhered to.


Federal Court of Australia 

Posted 25 March 2020 

Update 9 (24 March 2020) from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Hon James Allsop is attached. It advises arrangements being made for migration matters where an interpreter is needed. ederal Court of Australia

Posted 24 March 2020 

Update 8 (23 March 2020) from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Hon James Allsop is attached. It attaches a Special Measures Information Note of 23 March 2020 setting out arrangements for the continued operation of the Court during the COVID-19 outbreak, including modified practices in order to minimise in person attendance on Court premises, including electronic lodgement and allowing (on a temporary basis) documents to be signed electronically.

It also attaches the current version of a guide for the use of the application presently being used by judges in the Court – Microsoft Teams. 



Federal Court of Australia - Advice for conducting electronic hearings 

Posted 23 March 2020 
 

The Hon Justice Perram has provided the following advice in relation to conducting electronic hearings on Microsoft Teams:

Please find attached a manual and frequently asked questions document for working with Microsoft Teams. My chambers have successfully run a trial in this mode and there is no reason it cannot be done from home during a lockdown. It is likely I will be conducting a trial in that manner on Thursday and Friday. I am conducting a hearing on Teams today with the parties remotely located (although I will be in the courtroom today).

The Court will be endeavouring to deal with as much business as it can subject to the circumstances. I can see no reason in principle why matters cannot be dealt with on Teams, or by phone or in writing. My understanding is that the Court is moving in the same direction.

Please do not hesitate to contact my associates if you have any queries. A big thanks to Ben Mee, James King and Rob Clark of counsel who on very short notice put together the documents and the list of counsel who would find it useful.

Please free to pass this communication on.

Kind regards

Nye Perram



Family Court and Federal Circuit Court 

Posted 20 March 2020 

Please find attached a notice to the profession of 19 March 2020 from the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The Courts will continue to conduct court work within current parameters based on the advice of the Commonwealth Government Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer. The notice contains an update as to the measures and listing arrangements that are being implemented by the Courts to address these challenges.
 
The principal basis upon which work will be conducted in the Courts in the near future will be by telephone, and when it becomes possible, by videoconferencing. Only urgent matters will be dealt with by in court face-to-face hearings, which will be conducted pursuant to the protocol listed within the notice.
 
The Courts have each released a Practice Direction detailing modified practices being implemented in order to minimise the attendance by legal practitioners and parties at registries.
 
Family Court of Australia Practice Direction 2 of 2020 - Electronic Filing, Annexures to Affidavits and Viewing of Subpoenas
 
Federal Circuit Court of Australia Practice Direction 3 of 2020 - Electronic Filing and Viewing of Subpoenas


Federal Circuit Court - Adelaide Registry 

Posted 18 March 2020 

Please find attached a notice of 18 March 2020 from the Judges of the Adelaide Registry of the Federal Circuit Court advising arrangements being put in place.


Family and Federal Circuit Court 

Posted 18 March 2020 

Please find attached an announcement from the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court (16 March 2020) regarding measures that have been put in place in these courts.  Court enquiries can be directed to their National Enquiry Centre by email: enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au or telephone: 1300 352 000.
 
The Courts will update their websites as new information comes to hand.

Family Court of Australia
Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Support for businesses and employees

Updated 4 May 2020

The Federal and SA Governments have announced a number of packages aimed at providing financial support to businesses (including sole traders, small business owners and companies) and employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Federal Government’s JobKeeper Package 

Updated 4 May 2020 

The JobKeeper Payment is a subsidy for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 to cover the cost of their employees’ wages so that more employees can retain their jobs and continue to earn an income. Businesses that have experienced a 30% reduction in turnover may be eligible for the subsidy. 

Employers

Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.

Check your organisation meets the eligibility requirements
Check your employees meet eligibility requirements 

Timing: The subsidy started on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. Businesses can register their interest on the Australian Taxation Office website.

For more information about the payment and eligibility for employers and employees, visit the Australian Government Treasury website.

 

Alternative eligibility tests for JobKeeper payments

Posted 28 April 2020

The ATO Commissioner has issued a determination providing alternative eligibility tests for businesses applying for JobKeeper payments.

The determination provides for alternative criteria for businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 to claim JobKeeper payments where they do not meet the turnover test (30% decline in turnover or 50% decline in turnover for businesses with an annual turnover of $1 billion or more).

  • The alternative turnover test applies in circumstances including:
  • The business is less than 12 months old
  • An acquisition or disposal event took place in the past 12 months
  • A business restructure took place in the past 12 months
  • The business’s turnover substantially increased but has still been impacted by COVID-19 (applies to businesses that have  50% growth in turnover in the 12 months leading up to the test period; 25% growth in turnover in six months, or 12.5% growth over three months).
  • The business was affected by drought or other declared natural disaster during the relevant comparison period
  • The business has a large irregular variance in their turnover for the quarters ending in the 12 months before the applicable test period
  • A sole trader or partner has taken leave which had a negative impact on turnover during the period of leave

Read more about the alternative test from the ATO website
View the Alternative Decline in Turnover Test Rules
View information from the ATO about eligibility for JobKeeper


JobKeeper Q and A for eligible employees

The Victorian Employment Rights Legal Centre has developed a Q and A for eligible employees which provides a useful guide from an employee perspective (noting it is not specifically tailored to the South Australian employment conditions. http://jobwatch.org.au/jobkeeper-payment-scheme-qa/

 

Claiming working from home tax deductions

Posted 14 April 2020

The ATO has introduced a simplified method for claiming deductions for anyone working from home as a result of COVID-19.  Between 1 March and 30 June 2020, taxpayers will be able to claim 80 cents per work hour for all their additional running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses. This new method is designed to make tax returns simpler for anybody who has recently transitioned to working from home due to COVID-19, and ensures they are able to easily claim their relevant deductions

There are three ways that individuals can calculate their additional running expenses:

  • claim a rate of 80 cents per work hour for all additional running expenses.
  • claim a rate of 52 cents per work hour for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of office furniture, plus calculate the work-related portion of your phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery and the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device
  • claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which you need to calculate on a reasonable basis.

This information has been summarised into a Working from home media release. In addition to calculating your additional running expenses, information on expenses that can and can’t be claimed during this period is summarised into a Working from home guide. This was specifically designed due to the evolving nature of COVID-19 and the new temporary way of working that businesses have had to apply. 


Assistance available to businesses and Helpline 

Posted 23 March 2020 

Please find attached a Media Release of 22 March 2020 providing an update on the assistance available to businesses impacted by COVID-19 measures. It details the second stage of measures the Government has implemented to keep businesses in business and to keep workers in jobs.

A further  Media Release of 23 March 2020 advises the Federal Government’s business helpline for affected small and medium businesses. For information on what support is available to your business, visit the Australian Government’s Business website or contact the hotline on 13 28 46. 


Support for commercial tenancies

Regulations have been passed to assist commercial tenancies affected by COVID-19. If a lessee has suffered financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, a lessor cannot take action on the grounds of a breach of the lease for a prescribed period.  For more information read “Essential Information for Lessees and Lessors dealing with COVID-19” on the Small Business Commissioner’s website.  View the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases) Regulations 2020.

COVID-19 updates for personal injury lawyers

Pinned post

The Society has created a webpage which contains the latest COVID-19 updates relating to personal injury law, including workers compensation. Visit the webpage

Arrangements for the South Australian Employment Tribunal from Monday 23 November 2020

Posted 23 November 2020 


The Honourable President Justice Dolphin has advised the Attendances at SAET – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic responses – 19 November 2020 communique is rescinded.

As of Monday 23 November 2020, in accordance with South Australian Government advice and directions with regards to the recent Covid-19 cluster outbreak, the Tribunal is adopting the following practices.

Criteria for attending SAET in-person

Anyone attending SAET in-person must meet the Criteria for attending SAET in-person. The criteria is available at 

Matters before Commissioners

Until further notice, all scheduled hearings and conference, including those scheduled to be conducted in-person, will be conducted by teleconference.

Matters before Presidential Members

Unless advised by the Tribunal, hearings and conferences will be conducted as scheduled. All queries should be directed to the individual chambers.

Review

The SAET will continue to review its position in accordance with changing circumstances, updated Australian and State government protocols and the advice of health experts.

 

Attendances at the South Australian Employment Tribunal 

Posted 19 November 2020 

The Honourable President Justice Dolphin has advised that as a result of the South Australian Government’s Emergency Management (Stay at Home) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 during this COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period, the public and professional facing operations of the South Australian Employment Tribunal will be affected. As of today, 19 November 2020, SAET is adopting the following practices. They are also cognisant of the fact that working from home may adversely affect the ability of representatives to be properly and fully prepared for any particular case.
  
No in-person attendance at SAET
  
There will be no public access to the Riverside Building, other than for essential services. As such, SAET cannot be physically accessed. Contact to SAET will only be via email (saet@sa.gov.au). For urgent dust disease matters or urgent industrial disputes requiring immediate action telephone Registry on (08) 8207 0999.
  
Matters before Commissioners
  
As previous, all scheduled hearings and conferences, including those scheduled to be conducted in-person, will continue to be by teleconference.
  
Matters before Presidential Members
  
In-person conferences and hearings cannot proceed with the current restrictions. Chambers will contact the parties in any particular listed case to make alternative arrangements. Whilst some conferences and hearings may be able to proceed via telephone or MS Teams, others may not. The parties are to consider what arrangements may work best in each case.
  
Review
  
The SAET will review its position at the end of the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period and in accordance with changing circumstances, updated South Australian Government advice and directives, and the advice of health experts.


Attendances at the South Australian Employment Tribunal

Posted 12 June 2020

Please find attached a letter of 11 June 2020 from the Hon President Justice Dolphin. It advises that from Monday 15 June 2020, the Tribunal will start a period of transition from some of the practices adopted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those practices are outlined in the letter.

In line with governmental guidelines, some of the practices previously adopted will remain in place as measures to reduce the need for personal attendances at the Tribunal and to ensure safe social distancing in the precincts, waiting areas, conference rooms and courtrooms of the Tribunal’s two floors.

 

Workers compensation timeframes for claims for medical expenses

Posted 8 May 2020

The Accident Compensation Committee has noted that practitioners in workers compensation may have been approached by clients who have had surgery arrangements postposed because of bans or restriction of elective surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is a strict time-frame within which medical expenses incurred in relation to work injuries can be claimed from compensating authorities. That time-frame appears in s33(20) of the Return To Work Act, 2014 (RTWA) – and is a twelve month period beyond the end of any entitlement to weekly payments.

If surgery cannot or may not be performed within that time frame – or post-surgical treatment and rehabilitation cannot be undertaken and concluded within that time frame, then application can be made pursuant to s33(21(b)(ii) of the RTWA for the timeframe to be extended. That application must be made before the end of the s33(20) period.

Practitioners should consider the Reasons for judgment of the Full Court in Return To Work v Karpathakis; Return To Work v Rudduck – [2018] SASCFC 45 and the Full Bench of the SAET in Soldi v Wesfarmers Ltd (Return To Work SA Intervening) – [2019] SAET 241.

Assessments for Motor vehicle injuries

Posted 1 May 2020 

The Society has been working with the CTP Regulator to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic does not impact the rights of persons injured in motor vehicle accidents. The Society met with the CTP Regulator on 16 April to discuss its concerns with respect to medical and psychiatric assessments as well as receive an update as to what measures the Regulator has put in place to deal with COVID-19. The Society was consulted by the CTP Regulator with respect to the undertaking of Injury Scale Value (ISV) and Guide for the Evaluation of Psychiatric Impairment for Clinicians (GEPIC) assessments by psychiatrists using video conferencing/audio visual link.

Letter to the CTP Regulator: Psychiatric assessments conducted by AVL


RTWSA to recommence permanent impairment assessments

Posted 1 May 2020 

The Society is pleased to announce that RTWSA will be recommencing referring workers for permanent impairment assessments from Monday 4 May 2020. Workers who, for personal reasons, do not wish to proceed with an assessment of their permanent impairment at this time will suffer no adverse claim consequences. RTWSA has advised that it is its expectation that assessors will continue to ensure workers are appropriately screened before commencing any physical assessment. Read RTWSA's response to the Society | Read the Society’s letter to RTWSA

Amendments to the Legal Services Award 

Posted 9 April 2020 

The Fair Work Commission has confirmed that the Legal Services Award (among other Modern Awards) has been amended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More (Members Only)...

Land Services SA – limited services

Posted 18 November 2020 


The Registrar-General has advised that as a consequence of the lockdown from midnight tonight Land Services SA will only be available for limited services.

These services will be limited to the electronic lodgement of dealings and plans and customer service by phone or email. The Land Services SA offices will be closed.

Paper lodgement of plans and dealings will not be able to be catered for during this time. They can be posted to the Land Services SA postal box but please be aware that if dealings or plans are posted to Land Services SA they will not be able to be accessed and will not be lodged officially until the lockdown is lifted and Land Services SA is able to retrieve their post and process. To overcome this inability to lodge the Registrar-General strongly suggests the Priority Notice facility is utilised thus reserving the priority of lodgement on the specified Certificates of Titles.

The Registrar-General has also noted that many documents are available to be lodged electronically and therefore that process is not affected.

 

Extension of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations

Posted 10 September 2020 


The 
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Expiry and Rent) Amendment Bill 2020which extends the operation of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Act) was passed by both Houses of Parliament and received assent, on 8 September 2020.  The Amendment Act extends the operation of section 7 of the Act to 28 March 2021 to align with the Commonwealth JobKeeper scheme, which has been extended over two periods, from 28 September to 3 January 2021 and 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations were made upon passage of the Bill.  It is intended the Regulations will commence on 1 October 2020 and expire on 3 January 2021. 

All of the provisions of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 are extended (as amended) except the following provisions that have been expired:

Section

Subject

8(1)(c)

Provisions providing that inspections of residential tenancies can only occur via AV unless in exceptional circumstances.

10(1)(i)

Provisions that provide that inspections of supported residential facilities may only occur via electronic means unless exceptional circumstances.

11

Provisions applying to certain water and sewerage charges for sporting clubs.

12

Treasurer’s instructions relating to financial and audit requirements.

13

Audits by the Auditor-General

15

Modification of requirements relating to laying reports before Parliament.

Section 7 of the Act and the associated regulations prohibit certain prescribed actions, including evictions, by lessors against lessees who have less than $50 million annual turnover and who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, require parties to a commercial lease to make a genuine attempt to negotiate in good faith the rent payable and other terms of a commercial lease, establish a mediation regime by the Small Business Commissioner in relation to disputes, and establish a resolution regime for disputes through the Magistrates Court.

The Act and regulations are South Australia’s response to the Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 published by National Cabinet on 7 April 2020. 

The variation regulations continue the protections for affected lessees and will enable lessees who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on 1 October to renegotiate certain agreements made under the previous regulations or negotiate new agreements or seek court determinations as necessary.

COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No.2) Regulations 2020; and
Changes to the Development Act 1993 within the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Further Measures) Amendment Act 2020

Posted 15 May 2020 

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No.2) Regulations 2020 and COVID-19 Emergency Response (Further Measures) Amendment Act 2020 which contains change to the Development Act 1993 were gazetted and came into effect on 15 May 2020.

The Society made two submissions to the Attorney-General in relation to the adoption of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct regarding SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 (“the Code”). Refer the submissions of 8 May 2020 and 12 May 2020.


The submissions were prepared at the instigation of and with the assistance of its Property Committee, which expressed concerns that the current measures did not make any provision for rent relief to a tenant suffering hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its submission of 12 May 2020 the Society noted the proposed regulations failed to adequately reflect the Code and address uncertainties for parties trying to negotiate commercial lease terms during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Regulations refer to the provisions of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SMA Commercial Leasing Principles During COVIC-19 published on 7 April 2020 available here. The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) has summarised the import of the Regulations on the SBC website. The document includes a “COVID-19 Guidance Note – Commercial Information” produced by the SBC for parties to a lease in relation to the provision of financial information to assist negotiations.


GST at settlement - What to do during COVID-19 closedown 

Posted 7 April 2020 

The Australian Taxation Office has provided advice in relation to GST at settlement procedures during COVID-19 for buying or selling new residential property or land. Read More (Members Only)...



Standard Property Documents - COVID-19 Annexures

Posted 3 April 2020 

The Property Committee has prepared COVID 19 Annexures for each of the residential and non-residential Contracts of the Sale and Purchase of Land, which are available to those who subscribe to the Society’s suite of Standard Property Documents. Visit the Standard Property Documents page to subscribe and access the annexures.

 

Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council

Posted 24 March 2020

Please find
attached a statement from the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council. It provides guidance in relation to concerns regarding the face-to-face identity verification regime and signing of Client Authorisations. 


Land Services SA

Posted 23 March 2020 

The Registrar-General has advised that the Settlements Room and the overflow Room at Grenfell Street would close at 5pm today. Refer 
Customer Information Bulletin No 340, published today.
 
Land Services SA has subsequently released a Customer Bulletin, “Dealing with Residual Paper Settlements”, designed to assist in dealing with residual paper settlements.  It is reproduced below.
 
Earlier this morning a teleconference was facilitated by AICSA to work through the near-term logistical matters that have arisen as a consequence of the closure of the Settlements Room at 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide.
 
This meeting was attended by representatives from Land Services SA, the Office of the Registrar-General, conveyancers, lawyers, financial institutions, Electronic Lodgement Network Operators and broader market participants.
 
The below information is provided to assist in dealing with residual paper settlements over the coming weeks, however these arrangements may change with very little notice as the COVID-19 situation evolves. As such, where possible, clients should be converting settlements to the digital channel.
 
Settlements will be split across multiple locations to restrict the number of people gathering in accordance with Government and health guidelines. The agreed protocol will be to attend the premises of the Discharging Mortgagee or Vendor if the property is unencumbered.
 

 
Please CLICK HERE to view SAI Global’s customer notice.

For your own health and safety, it is strongly encouraged that where possible, all work in progress be converted and lodged electronically, and that you reconsider attending the residual paper settlements in person if you are feeling unwell.
 
We appreciate that there are many concerns around COVID-19 and we wish to reassure you that the maintenance of a healthy and safe environment and the protection of our employees and customers remain our priority. To maintain the safety of our staff, other customers and tenants of 101 Grenfell Street, we ask clients not to congregate in large groups in our foyer or other common areas of the 101 Grenfell Street tenancy.
 
Land Services SA continues to monitor the quickly evolving circumstances and will notify you of any changes to our services in response to COVID-19.



Conveyancing practices 

Posted 18 March 2020 

Practitioners who practise in conveyancing should keep in mind the potential for the spread of COVID-19 to disrupt the industry including Lands Titles dealings and the finance of these.  Any disruption to these processes may also lessen the client experience which may reflect badly upon the practitioner including his or her firm.  Given the potential for this disruption, the Society recommends practitioners consider remote electronic dealings with the land registry wherever this is possible.  Electronic lodgement provides a wide range of flexibility and is a worthwhile risk abatement measure as the practitioner, including his or her staff, will be able to avoid attendance in the LTO settlement room which is not only a constrained area but can be densely populated from time to time. 
 
Practitioners are referred to the web page of each of PEXA and Sympli in order to familiarise themselves with the range of online lodgement services that are available, and also, the procedure to subscribe to these services.  Furthermore, practitioners should be alert to any directions which may issue from the Office of the Registrar General or Land Services SA.  Customer Information Bulletin #339 from Land Services SA is attached.

Magistrates Court of South Australia 

Posted 20 November 2020 

Between 19 November 2020 and 24 November 2020 inclusive (the period), the Magistrates Court Buildings will be closed. Urgent matters will be heard in the Adelaide Magistrates Court and Elizabeth Magistrates Court by AVL or phone and are restricted to the following:

Criminal Jurisdiction 

Defendants that are remanded in custody whose scheduled next appearance falls within the above dates
All overnight arrests
Urgent Applications and Urgent Intervention Order applications.

All other matters listed during the period will be re-listed in the next 4-6 weeks to a date and time to be advised.

Civil Jurisdiction

All civil jurisdiction matters listed during the period have been adjourned to a date to be advised. Urgent civil applications will only be heard if approved by the Regional Manager civil.

For more information, please see the listing updates published by the Courts Administration Authority:

Adelaide Magistrates Court 
Elizabeth Magistrates Court 

and the CAA Coronavirus COVID-19 Information webpage, which is updated regularly. 


Department for Correctional Services – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Posted 14 July 2020 

The Department for Correctional Services’
DCS and COVID-19 webpage is regularly updated to answer some of your frequently asked questions in relation to prisoner health and prison visits. 


COVIC-19 Emergency Response (Bail) Amendment Act 2020

Posted 8 May 2020

The
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Bail) Amendment Act 2020, which amends the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020, was assented to and commenced on 7 May 2020. View the Bill. The Act expands the classes of offences where a presumption against bail exists via amendment of section 10A definition of the Bail Act 1985.   The new offences include serious criminal trespass in residential and non-residential premises and criminal trespass in a place of residence; and aggravated offences against those employed in prescribed occupations (such as emergency worker, medical or other health practitioners, passenger transport workers, police support workers, court security officers and bailiffs)

The provisions will expire at the earliest from six months from the commencement of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 or when there is no longer an emergency declared.

The Society provided its views on the Bill to the Attorney-General on May 2020, concluding the Bill was not only likely to be ineffective in deterring the commission of offences but would have a number of unintended and negative consequences.  The Society noted the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (and the Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA) generally) provides the State Coordinator with extremely broad and coercive powers to deal with matters arising from COVID-19.  In the Society’s view the use of emergency powers to interfere with bail laws is an inappropriate use of these powers. 

The Society is closely following the situation as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate in Australia and around the world. We are continuing to take measures to accord with those recommended by the Australian and South Australian Governments.

Most Society staff are working from home as at 17 November 2020. Email contact with Staff Members and services is preferred. The standard contact email addresses for key services are

Ethics Enquiry Service 

Member Services

Litigation Assistance Fund

Law Claims

Murray Law Library


The following measures are presently in place. It is “business as usual” for the services not identified below as having changed arrangements, until such time as we advise otherwise.
  
CPD, Conferences and training sessions

CPD sessions
are being delivered by webinar only.  Please select the “Attend via webinar” option when registering, or if you were already registered your registration has been automatically transferred to webinar attendance and you will have received an email to advise this.  Should you be unable to attend via webinar please respond to the email in order to obtain a refund.   
 
Member social events

No face-to-face social events are currently being held. 
 
External room hire

All room hire bookings have been cancelled and no bookings will be taken until further notice. 
 
Ethics and Practice visits and legal practice advice

Trust Account inspections have been postponed or are being completed remotely, eg via correspondence if appropriate.  The relevant law practices have been separately contacted.
 
Law practices should make arrangements to comply with Australian Government advice in relation to COVID-19 measures, which will depend upon their circumstances If legal practitioners have any concerns about practice arrangements as a result of the spread of COVID-19 please do not hesitate to contact the Ethics and Practice Unit of the Society by phone 8229 0200 or email for advice.
 
GDLP

The Society is following the practice adopted by the University of Adelaide in relation to the teaching of the GDLP Course.
 
Advisory Service

The Advisory Service has been suspended until further notice.

LPEAC Guidelines - Temporary amendments to MCPD requirements and Remote Supervision Arrangements for PLT Students and Category C (Restricted) PC Holders during COVID-19 Restrictions

Posted 2 April 2020 

As a result of COVID-19 personal contact restrictions the Legal Practitioners Education and Admissions Council (LPEAC) has both amended the MCPD Scheme requirements and also issued temporary guidelines for the remote supervision of PLT students and Category C (restricted) practising certificate holders as is set out below:

The temporary amendments to the MCPD Scheme include the following:

  • extending the deadline for compliance with the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development requirements for the CPD year commencing on 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2020.


  • removal of the 5 CPD unit maximum limit that ordinarily applies to the viewing or listening to material for, a multi-media, web-based or recorded program.


(Notwithstanding the extension of time practitioners are encouraged to complete their prescribed MCPD as soon as possible (noting that there is no limit on the number of units claimed for pre-recorded or web-based material which can be accessed from home) so as not to delay or impede the renewal of practising certificates on 1 July 2020)

Click here for the guidelines for Remote Supervision of PLT students.

Click here for the guidelines for Remote Supervision of Category C (Restricted) PC holders.

Please send an email to the Ethics and Practice Unit of the Society at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au if you have any questions, for example if you may need to seek an intimation due to inability to complete MCPD points.   



CPD Webinars 

Posted 19 March 2020 

The Law Society is providing all upcoming CPD sessions by webinar.

Information and resources 


The Australian Government is continually updating its COVID-19 advice, information and resources, COVID-19. We advise Members to check for current information, including at :

or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor.

Video Conferencing 

Posted 8 April 2020 

With the move to remote working and physical distancing, the rise in the use of video conferencing software platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, FaceTime and Skype has highlighted the potential cyber security challenges that organisations face in using these platforms securely. Zoom in particular Read More (Members Only)...

 

Cyber Security

It has been widely reported that cyber criminals have come up with new scams trying to take advantage of the Covid 19 situation, for example, by sending phishing/malware emails disguised as health updates and the like. Even though practitioners will have a myriad of things to do at the moment, it is no time to let your guard down with respect to cyber security, so all the usual warnings about checking and double checking before clicking on links etc still apply, with even more force at the moment.

In addition, with the expansion of remote working over the last few weeks, which no doubt will only continue, it is important to recognise that the device you use remotely (phone, tablet or laptop) might not have the same security as your main office computer. Before you conduct work on such a device you must ensure that it (as well as your office network of course) is secure. It is also important to be aware that wireless networks present their own security issues (ie public networks are generally not secure) so only use secure wireless networks.

Legal Services Commission Update  

Posted 2 April 2020 

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has written to the Society to advise they have introduced a range of measures in the operation of the Commission. These include arrangements for staff of the LSC to work from home to enable the Commission to continue to provide services to clients and practitioners throughout this period.

The LSC will now aim to make EFT payment runs on a weekly basis. If you are able to submit invoices on a timely basis, via email grants@lsc.sa.gov.au they will be processed within seven working days.

Non-urgent enquiries should be made by email to 
lsc.correspondence@lsc.sa.gov.au. Urgent matters can be emailed to grants@lsc.sa.gov.au.

The lodgement of applications for legal aid should be online in all cases. A new online application form is now available on the Commission 
website.



Legal Services Commission arrangements 

Posted 23 March 2020 

The Legal Services Commission is continuing to provide legal assistance, advice, information and representation to the SA community. However, in response to the coronavirus, the Commission has implemented temporary changes to the way it delivers some services.

To reduce the potential transmission of the virus, the Commission is moving away from face-to-face meetings with clients wherever possible and instead providing assistance by phone and online. Information and assistance can be obtained in a number of ways:

  • For free legal advice of a general nature, the Commission can be contacted on 1300 366 424 on workdays between 9am and 4:30pm.
  • To chat online with LSC lawyers during business hours, click the Legal Chat icon on the Commission’s website.
  • The 24Legal service and Law Handbook also provide online answers to a range of common legal questions.

The Commission will continue to provide regular updates to its clients, staff, partners and the public about any significant changes to its services. 

Professional Standards Scheme 

Posted 24 March 2020

A reminder to all practitioners and firms participating in the Professional Standards Scheme – even if you are remote working you still need to meet the disclosure requirements for the Scheme. This means that all email and written correspondence needs to include the disclosure statement: “Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.” Please add this to your working from home protocols. As always, if you need assistance with this or any other aspect of the Professional Standards Scheme please ring Mia Bell on 8229 0225 or email mia.bell@lawsocietysa.asn.au