COVID-19 information impacting the South Australian legal profession

$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 for 2020-21 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 2020-21 for every insured practitioner
  • For 2020-21, 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




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.


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
  
Supreme Court Civil Enquiries:
p: (08) 8204 0289
supreme.registry@courts.sa.gov.au
  
District Court Civil Enquiries:
p: (08) 8204 0289
district.civil@courts.sa.gov.au
  
Criminal Enquiries
p: (08) 8204 2444
ccrcs@courts.sa.gov.au

ERD Court Enquiries
p: (08) 804 0289
erdcourt@courts.sa.gov.au
  
Magistrates Court
p: (08) 8204 2444
e: enquiry@courts.sa.gov.au
  
Youth Court Criminal matters
p: (08) 82040330
e: youthcourt@courts.sa.gov.au
Care and Protection: careandprotectionyouthcourt@courts.sa.gov.au
  
Coroner's Court:
p: (08) 8204 0600
coroner@courts.sa.gov.au
  
CourtSA Registry Services
p: (08) 8204 2444

The Australian Taxation Office website has information about taxation arrangements for those working from home:  Refer https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Property/Your-home/Working-from-home/

Australian Government information to support to small businesses is available at https://business.gov.au/



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 

The subsidy started on 30 March 2020 and will end on 31 March 2021. 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.

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)...

COVID-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 continues to take measures to accord with those recommended by the Australian and South Australian Governments.

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.

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 and COVID-19 Vaccine 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.