COVID-19 and the Law
This Christmas has thankfully seen an easing Australia wide of restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Most economic pundits are also suggesting that our economy will recover from the effects of the coronavirus much more quickly than was first expected.
This is obviously welcome news for many in the community who have lost their jobs or who face uncertain futures in running their businesses.
One important effect of the pandemic has been the way it has forced the legal profession to innovate. It is no secret that the legal profession is hide-bound by tradition and can be very slow to change. The pandemic has forced lawyers and the judicial system to radically change the way that law is administered not only in Australia but world-wide.
In NSW legislation has been put into place temporarily to permit the signing of wills, powers of attorney, enduring guardianship documents, statutory declarations and affidavits to be done by audio-visual link between the person signing and the lawyer and other witnesses. Before the pandemic it was necessary for the client to attend a lawyer’s office or for the lawyer to visit the client in order to have these things done. Similarly Courts in NSW (both Federal and State) have embraced Zoom and related platforms to permit audio-visual links to replace the physical presence in a Court room for many hearings.
It is likely that some of these “remote” practices will survive the passing of the pandemic. This is likely to benefit the community because it will reduce the expense associated with Court hearings both in terms of legal fees and in terms of the infrastructure needed to administer the legal system. In my own firm we have set up a dedicated virtual Court room which has had considerable use during this pandemic. Operating in a virtual environment takes some getting used to for lawyers but the need to keep legal processes moving has forced practitioners and Courts alike to adapt to the changed circumstances and work out procedures to make it happen.
I hope that the easing of the pandemic in Australia and the lessening of restrictions brings with it better financial circumstances for you and your family and that you enjoy a very happy Christmas and a successful year in 2021. As always if you need assistance with any legal matters please feel free to contact our office. With the exception of the public holidays our head office at Sutherland will be open every day throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
CEO & Accredited Specialist in Family / De Facto Law
Telephone: 9525 8688
Facsimile: 9526 2608