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:
Latest update from the Courts (6 December 2022):
The Family Court of Western Australia
The Court has been advised that two cases of COVID-19 have been detected amongst the detainees at Unit 18 Casuarina Prison on 6 December 2022.
Given the likelihood that further cases may be detected in the coming days and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible, his Honour Judge Quail has determined that it is appropriate to temporarily suspend requirements of the Information Note dated 23 September 2022 relating to Young Persons Remanded in Custody at Unit 18 appearing in Court in person.
Accordingly, EXCEPT FOR TRIAL, arrangements are being made for all young people in custody at Unit 18 Casuarina Prison to attend Court by video link.
If there are special circumstances requiring an in-person Court appearance, please advise the Court accordingly so the matter can be individually considered.
The website will be noted that this Information Note is temporarily suspended and that notification will be removed as soon as it is appropriate to do so and those young people can resume attending Court in person.
- Public Notice – COVID-19 (27 April 2022)
- Public Notice – COVID-19 – Court & Tribunal Worker Restrictions on Access Directions
- Public Notice – 4 February 2022 – Supreme Court of Western Australia
- COVID-19 Public Notice 7 – Family Court of Western Australia
- Public Notice and Practice Direction 2 of 2022 – Children’s Court
- WA Bar Association Guidance Note – for the purpose of assisting members with understanding the implementation and effect of the Directions.
Law Society Offices Visitor Protocol – COVID-19
With the emergence of COVID-19 in our State, the Law Society continues to take measures to protect the health and safety of our staff and visitors to our office and the Old Court House Law Museum (offices).
From Monday, 31 January 2022 until further notice, ALL visitors over the age of 16 years attending our offices will be required to:
- Sanitise and check-in either at reception or prior to entry (to the museum or Level 5 training room) using our QR code, or via the manual check in register.
- Provide evidence of vaccination or a copy of your medical exemption upon request.
Note: This can be done by showing your COVID-19 Digital Certificate via the Service WA app, or by providing a printed immunisation certificate together with your current photo identification. If you are medically exempt from vaccination, you will be requested to show your exemption certificate as registered through the Australian Immunisation Register together with your current photo identification.
- Wear a face mask at all times unless you are eating or drinking.
- Practice physical distancing per government guidance.
The Law Society has a duty of care to provide our staff and visitors with the requisite standard of health and safety in the office environment and we appreciate your cooperation with these requests. We will continue to monitor government guidelines and update our practices and policies accordingly.
- If you feel unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms, please call to reschedule your meeting/CPD or organise an online meeting/CPD.
- If your preference is not to meet in person, we can organise an online meeting.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, or choose not to disclose your vaccination status, we will, where possible organise for you to attend your CPD online. Please contact the CPD team on (08) 9324 8640 during normal office hours.
We thank you for your cooperation, and sincerely appreciate your understanding in assisting the Law Society to support the safety and wellbeing of our staff, our members, our visitors and our community.
ServiceWA – Proof of Vaccination
Based on the latest health advice, from Monday, 31 January, 2022, proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements will apply state-wide and be expanded to include new higher-risk venues.
ServiceWA is a free app that allows people to show proof of vaccination, check-in with SafeWA and access a G2G Pass for interstate travel – all in one place. It can be downloaded from the following links:
- Apple: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/servicewa/id1599181775
- Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.gov.wa.digital.service.mobile.servicewa.citizen
Guide to Assist the Development of a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
Given the health risks associated with COVID-19, reasonably practicable steps may need to be taken that reduce the risk of COVID-19 being caught by workers or other persons arising from a business or undertaking. It is therefore appropriate to have a policy that reflects the requirements of any relevant Public Health Orders.
The Law Society has developed a Guide to Assist the Development of a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy to assist our members.
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
Support for your Practice
Given the health risks associated with COVID-19, reasonably practicable steps may need to be taken that reduce the risk COVID-19 being caught by workers or other persons arising from a business or undertaking. It is therefore appropriate to have a policy that reflects the requirements of any relevant Public Health Orders.
The Law Society has developed a Guide to Assist the Development of a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and would like to thank its Employee Relations Committee and the Law Council of Australia’s Industrial Law Committee and Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section for their assistance in the preparation of this Guide.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
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:
- A contingency plan to deal with the COVID-19 in the workplace, to identify risks and do what is reasonably practicable to minimise those risks
- 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
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
- WA Bar Association
- 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:
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
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 email@example.com.
|Reception||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Membership Inquiries||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Find Your Lawyer Referral Service||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Law Mutual||(08) 9481 email@example.com|
|CPD Support||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Old Court House Law Museum||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Francis Burt Law Education Services||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Media Inquiries||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
|Advertising||(08) 9324 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sponsorship||(08) 9324 email@example.com|
Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to submit them in the textbox below.