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 Stage Government’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020, Bill, 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.