The Law Society of Western Australia is closely following the situation as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate 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:
Law Society Activities
CPD and Events
Specifically in relation to the delivery of our various events, particularly CPD seminars, the adopted starting point is the Government of Western Australia Department of Health and Australian Government Department of Health (AGHD) alerts on COVID-19. In particular, we are taking guidance from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommendations with regard to public events found on the AGHD website.
CPD sessions will now be delivered by webinar. If you have already registered or are unable to attend by webinar, please contact the CPD team on (08) 9324 8640 for further information. The Law Society’s eLearning platform is also available to enable you to complete all your CPD requirements online 24/7.
The Law Society and the District Court of Western Australia have taken the difficult decision to postpone the District Court 50th Anniversary Black Tie Gala Dinner to Saturday, 27 February 2021. A communication from the President and Chief Judge has been sent to people who have registered for this event.
All other social events are constantly under review and if an event(s) is cancelled or postponed registrants for the event(s) will be contacted by email.
Committee meetings are no longer being held face-to-face, until further notice. Meetings will only be held via email, video conferencing or teleconference.
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 Law Society is receiving many requests for guidance and information about what is an ‘essential’ legal service. This includes areas of family law and estate (wills) practice, verification of identity (for property, wills, court documents and new clients).
These requests have been referred to the Attorney General and we understand that the range of issues that will arise in the current and future environment are being considered.
As and when guidelines and information are provided to the Law Society, it will be published on this page.
Potential Changes to Legal Legal Services Award
Members who are covered by the Legal Services Award (LSA) should note that on 8 April 2020 the Fair Work Commission is expected to confirm a provisional decision to vary the LSA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The variation, once confirmed, will apply until 30 June unless extended.
The variation, first, will provide employees with an entitlement to take 2 weeks unpaid pandemic leave and, secondly, provide for employers and employees to reach agreements to take twice their accrued annual leave at half pay.
Once a final decision is made by the Commission, further details will be provided to members in Friday Facts and on this COVID-19 information and resources hub.
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:
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
- Federal Court of Australia
- Department of Justice
- Family Court of Australia
- Federal Circuit Court of Australia
- Legal Practice Board of Western 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
- Legal Aid WA
- Western Australian courts have suspended jury trials until 1 May. Legal Aid WA wants to avoid a backlog of cases and we want to help law firms and barristers that relied on jury trials. Legal Aid is therefore working closely with the DPP to promote the early resolution of indictable charges. This will avoid a large accumulation of trials during the COVID-19 period.The Courts have vacated jury trials listed up until 31 May and are listing them for case conferencing. This will enable prosecutors and defence lawyers to resolve issues so that the parties don’t require a trial or it is of reduced length. Legal Aid will pay for lawyers to attend the case conference. If the parties can resolve a trial listed up until 31 May, then Legal Aid will pay the full trial preparation allowance. If the parties can resolve a trial listed after 31 May, then Legal Aid will pay the practitioner 80% of the trial preparation allowance.Legal Aid will also pay 80% of the trial preparation allowance where the courts have listed a charge for a ‘trial listing hearing’ and the private lawyer successfully resolves the matter with the DPP before 31 May.
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.