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
COVID-19 Support Package for Western Australia’s Legal Profession
The legal profession has experienced significant changes and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Law Society has been working hard behind the scenes to put measures in place to respond to this crisis effectively and support you, our valued members in this difficult time. »Read more
CPD and Events
Specifically in relation to the delivery of our various events, particularly CPD seminars and social events, 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 Western Australian Governments COVID-19: What you can and can’t do physical distancing and hygiene information.
CPD sessions are being delivered by either face to face, webinar or a combination of both subject to numbers of people permitted in the room as set out by the Western Australian Governments COVID-19: What you can and can’t do physical distancing and hygiene 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 now able to be held face-to-face, video conference or telephone subject to numbers of people permitted in the room as set out by the Western Australian Governments COVID-19: What you can and can’t do physical distancing and hygiene information. The responsible staff member for a Committee and the Committee Chairperson will determine whether a meeting will be held face to face, via Video Conference or Telephone or a combination until further notice.
Law Society Communications
For further information related to the Society’s communications on COVID-19, please click below:
Member Alert – 16 March 2020
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
- 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.
- 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 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.