The Law Society of Western Australia is closely following the situation as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve in Australia and around the world. We are continuing to take measures to accord with those recommended by the Australian Government and are planning a scalable response.
Our aim is to continue to provide as many of the Society’s key functions as possible. The following measures will remain in place until such time as we advise otherwise. It will be ‘business as usual’ for the services not identified below as having changed arrangements.
This page is designed to be an information hub to keep our members informed with the latest updates:
WA Correctional Facility Entrant (Restrictions on Access) Directions
The WA Correctional Facility Entrant (Restrictions on Access) Directions came into effect on 12 November 2021. These Directions apply to any person who enters a correctional facility.
In particular, please note:
- paragraph 5, which sets out the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements to enter a correctional facility;
- paragraph 12 and Schedule 1, which sets out the facilities captured by ‘correctional facility’; and
- paragraph 17, which defines ‘exempt person’.
The Department of Justice will provide further advice if the Courts become the subject of any mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
Mandatory Vaccination Policy
On 20 October 2021, the State Government announced a mandatory vaccination policy, which takes a staged, risk-based approach across public and private sector industry and workforces.
The Law Society attended an urgent roundtable which was called by the Department of Justice (DoJ) on Friday, 29 October. The aim of the roundtable was to inform the implementation of the mandates, including clarification of the role of employers and employees as required to assist with the Chief Health Officer to finalise the Directions which will be applicable.
The following are the key points which were raised which may affect legal practitioners that work within the Correctional Services system which has been mandated as Group 1 Industries and Occupations need to know the following:
- Anyone entering a Correctional Services Facility (Facility) for work and doing so more than once a week that does not have a valid exemption will be required to have had their first vaccination by 1 December 2021 and be double vaccinated by 31 December 2021.
- You will need to provide proof of your vaccination status at the Facility to be able to enter it. Click here to see ways you are able to show your proof of vaccination.
- Vaccinations records must be kept by your employer. Employees must provide this information to their employer. Please note that DOJ is working with the Department of Health to have all prisons and the detention Centre declared vaccination zones where anyone entering prisons for any purpose will be required to be vaccinated as per the timetable listed above.
- DoJ are also working with the Department of Health on extending the Group 1 Industries and Occupations and this may be extended to capture the Courts and Tribunals. Further information will be provided to the legal profession if this occurs.
- Your employer must comply with any Public Health Directions that require vaccinations in specific industries. Fines for non compliance apply – Individuals face a $20,000 fine and they increase to $100,000 for employers.
- The Public Health Directions are in place for the period that the State of Emergency orders are in place.
The Chief Health Officer has provided public health advice on a range of industries and occupations, confirming that mandating is necessary to reasonably prevent, control or abate the serious public health risk and is proportionate to the serious public health risk. Information and Frequently Asked Questions have been published on the Department of Health’s website.
Law Society Activities
Committees, CPD and Events
Law Society Communications
For further information related to the Society’s communications on COVID-19, please click below:
Member Alert – 18 March 2020
Member Alert – 25 March 2020
Update from the President – 1 April 2020
Law Mutual News – 9 April 2020 (Changes to Payment for 2020/2021 Insurance Arrangements)
Member Alert: Update from the Legal Practice Board | Temporary Industrial Relations Changes in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic – 15 April 2020
Update from the President and CEO – 29 April 2020
Your Membership Matters – 4 June 2020
Support for your Practice
Legal Practices should develop a contingency plan to deal with the COVID-19 in the workplace. This plan should identify risks and do what is reasonably practicable to minimise those risks – click here to read more.
Sample documents – Resources to assist your practice
The below linked resources are designed to assist your practice with issues such as working from home and ensuring employee health and safety:
- COVID-19 Guide – Employee Suspect or Confirmed Case
- Home Based Work – Checklist for Employees
- Home Based Work Checklist – Issues to Consider
- Home Based Work Policy and Guide
- Home Based Work Safety Checklist
- Managers Guide to Flexible Working Arrangement
- Managers Guide to Home Based and Flexible Work
- Work Health and Safety Policy
Coronavirus information and support for businesses
The Federal Government is providing government support for Australian businesses; click below to find out more:
Operations at the business.gov.au 13 28 46 Contact Centre has been increased from five days per week to seven days per week, and will provide additional hours of support outside standard operating hours, answering calls from 7.00am to 11.00pm AEST.
‘Essential’ Legal Services
The Attorney General the Hon John Quigley MLA has acknowledged the important work of the profession and our members, saying in correspondence “I have no doubt that [Law Society] members are providing essential services to the community during this difficult time.”
The WA Government’s Prohibition on Regional Travel Directions provides that people performing an ‘essential service’ include those with specialist skills “required for industry or business continuity and maintenance of competitive operation, where the service is time-critical” and “any judicial officer or staff member of a court, tribunal or commission.” »Read full media statement
Temporary Industrial Relations Changes in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Members should note recent industrial relations changes to provide employers in the WA legal profession with temporary flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members who are unsure whether these changes apply to their legal practice or employment, and the effect of the changes, should seek independent advice.
Notice to the Profession – CPD Audit 2020
The Legal Practice Board is aware that the recent spread of COVID-19 and the associated warnings and protective measures have created significant pressure for the profession, particularly with isolation and remote working arrangements. In the circumstances, the Board has made the decision that the routine annual CPD audit will not be conducted for the CPD year ending 31 March 2020. »Read full statement
Practitioners Taking Wills and Enduring Power of Attorney Instructions during COVID-19
Practitioners should note that Western Australian legislation differs from legislation in Victoria and Queensland, however the general principles and advice are useful.
Federal Government Advice
The Australian Government is continually updating its COVID-19 advice, information and resources. We advise Members to check for current information, including at:
- Australian Government Department of Home Affairs Travel Restrictions
- Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert (updated daily)
- Australian Government Department of Health Isolation Guidance
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.
Australian Taxation Office
There is support available for your business if you are experiencing difficulties with tax obligations:
- Australian Government Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020
National COVID-19 Coordination Commission
The Prime Minister announced the establishment of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission on 25 March 2020. The role of the Commission is to coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCCC has created an online planning tool to help business develop a plan to keep their workers, customers and the community safe as they reopen or increase their activities in the weeks and months ahead. Click here to download the template.
National COVID-19 safe workplace principles
The national COVID-19 safe workplace principles will apply to businesses and workers. The national workplace principles released by Prime Minister Scott Morrison were developed in consultation with union representatives, the COVID-19 Commission and Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter. »Read more
Safe Work Australia (SWA) provides extensive information on COVID-19 for workplaces to ensure work health and safety here.
Western Australian Government Advice
This link from the WA Government provides updates as new information becomes available.
Communications from Courts, Legal and Other Organisations
The Society will keep Members informed of advices issued by various Courts or the Department of Correctional Services (re prisons), etc. These will be included in Friday Facts or separately advised via Member Alert emails.
Click on the links below for further information:
- Supreme Court of Western Australia
- District Court of Western Australia
- Magistrates Court of Western Australia
- Family Court of Western Australia
- Children’s Court of Western Australia
- Department of Justice
- Legal Practice Board of Western Australia
- Federal Court of Australia
- Family Court of Australia
- Federal Circuit Court of Australia
- Law Council of Australia
- PEXA – Remote working | Advice on how to keep property transactions safe
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA
- Western Australia Police Force
- The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC)
- Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
- Legal Aid WA
- Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
- The Court Administration Authority in South Australia launched CourtSA in the Civil jurisdiction on Monday, 18 May 2020. To access CourtSA click here.
- The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) published four articles that are relevant to small businesses on their news hub here:
Supporting your Health and Wellbeing
Law Society members have access to LawCare WA, including the member assistance programme through Converge International and we encourage you to utilise this service if you are experiencing any distress.
Being Well in the Law is a health and wellbeing resource for lawyers. The publication, originally developed by the Law Society of NSW, has been adapted by the Law Society of WA to ensure it is relevant to the needs of local lawyers and to reflect WA-specific resources.
The Law Society would like to assure you that we remain available to help you with any queries you may have by phone or email. Our phone number is (08) 9324 8600 (within Australia) or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Reception||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Membership Inquiries||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Find Your Lawyer Referral Service||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Law Mutual||(08) 9481 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|CPD Support||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Old Court House Law Museum||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Francis Burt Law Education Services||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Media Inquiries||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Advertising||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Sponsorship||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to submit them in the textbox below.