Wednesday, 14 July 2021
Covid-19 update for the ACT legal profession
All visitors to the Law Society offices (including the Settlements Office) are required to check in for contact-tracing purposes.
The Society is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will update this page as necessary. Members are encouraged to refer to the following resources:
- Face mask requirements
- ACT Health
- Assistance available to small businesses in the ACT
- Australian Government Department of Health
- Law Council of Australia: list of resources by region
- Canberra COVID-19 Legal Help
ACT Law Society updates
All visitors to the Law Society offices (including the Settlements Office) are required to check in with the ACT Government's Check In CBR App. QR codes will be displayed at entry points to the Law Society and the Settlements Office for ease of check-in.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
The safety of our members is our biggest priority during this time. If you are attending an in-person CPD event, you are required to check in with the ACT Government's Check In CBR App. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our Professional Development & Events Officer, Liz Francis, on email@example.com.
In order to allow the settlements room to keep functioning, government healh advice is being strictly followed. All users should check in with the ACT Government's Check In CBR App. The priority for the Society is the health of those using the room. Please do not attend Settlements if you, or anybody you are in close contact with, is experiencing even mild cold or flu symptoms.
Legal advice services
The Legal Advice Bureau is on hold until further notice. Pro Bono Clearing House meetings will be held online where possible.
Does the Check in CBR app breach lawyer/client confidentiality?
The Legal Profession Act & Ethics Committee has prepared some advice to help firms and practitioners who may have questions about the interaction between Covid-19 check in requirements and their client confidentiality obligations. [read more]
Tips for managing the legal workforce as COVID-19 restrictions ease in the ACT
As the COVID-19 risk reduces in the ACT (for the time being) and restrictions continue to ease, there are a few HR questions on the minds of workplaces about how to manage staff during this phase. The Law Society’s Industrial Relations Committee has published this guide to some Frequently Asked Questions to help ACT Law Firms navigate this period. [read more]
ACT Community Legal Centres
ACT Community Legal Centres are continuing to deliver essential legal assistance and other support to the most vulnerable members of the Canberra community during the current COVID-19 outbreak. All ACT Community Legal Services are currently delivering services by phone, video or online.
Canberra Community Law have launched a website covering common legal areas that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACT Supreme Court and ACT Magistrates Court
Until further notice, all members of the legal profession and the public will be required to wear a mask when on Court premises.
The Court Registry counter is open for lodgements. Court users are advised that documents may only be lodged over the counter; or if you are a legal practitioner registered for eLodgment, by eLodgment. Documents will not be accepted for filing by email.
- Latest news: ACT Supreme Court
- Latest news: ACT Magistrates Court
- 10/9/20 - Practice Direction 2 of 2020 - Special Arrangements in response to COVID 19
- 26/3/20 - Notice to Practitioners - Drug and Alcohol Sentencing List: COVID-19 Virus
- 30/3/20 - Notice to Practitioners - COVID 19 Probate Notice
- 10/9/20 - Special Measures COVID 19: Probate matters (No 2)
- 9/9/20 - Practice Direction COVID-19 Measures – Revised Arrangements (No 2)
- 16/3/20 - Media Release - COVID-19
- 8/4/20 - Notice to Practitioners - Legal Practitioner Admissions COVID-19 arrangements
ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)
High Court of Australia
- Latest news: High Court of Australia
- Protocol for practitioners participating in Video Connection Hearings
- 8/2/21: Practice Direction No.1 of 2021 – Opening of the Registry
- 23/3/20: Practice Direction No.1 of 2020 - Electronic filing of documents - cases commenced before 1 January 2020
Federal Court of Australia
If practitioners are involved in current proceedings before the Court that are impacted by COVID-19, they are encouraged to direct enquiries for assistance, such as necessary adjournments, variations to timetables or preparation for hearings, to Tuan Van Le, National Judicial Registrar, Phone (03) 8600 334.
- Latest news: Federal Court of Australia
- 27/1/21: QR code systems being introduced in Court buildings
- 4/8/20: Letter from Chief Justice Allsop
- 6/7/20: Special Measures Information Note 4: Court attendance
- 7/4/20: Special Measures Information Note 3: Appeals and Full Court hearings
- 2/4/20: Guide to virtual hearings and Microsoft Teams
- 31/3/20: Special Measures Information Note 1
- 31/3/20: Migration matters in the Commonwealth Courts Portal
Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia
The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) have each established a court list dedicated to dealing exclusively with urgent family law disputes that have arisen as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The operation of the COVID-19 Lists is set out in Joint Practice Direction 1 of 2021. NOTE: do not eFile your application if seeking to be heard in the COVID-19 List. All documents must be emailed to COVID19List@familycourt.gov.au for filing.
If practitioners are involved in current proceedings before the Court that are impacted by COVID-19, they are encouraged to direct enquiries for assistance, such as necessary adjournments, variation to timetables or preparation for hearings, to Jessica Schultz on (02) 6267 0527 or Jessica.Schultz@familycourt.gov.au.
- Latest news: Family Court of Australia
- Latest news: Federal Circuit Court of Australia
- 15/1/21: Joint Practice Direction 1 of 2021 - The COVID-19 List
- 3/8/20: Joint Practice Direction 2 of 2020 - Special Measures in Response to COVID-19 (updated)
- 25/6/20: Notice to the Profession - COVID-19 Measures and listing arrangements for Registrars and Child Dispute Services (updated)
- 25/6/20: Child Dispute Services - in-person interview protocol (updated)
- 12/6/20: Updated face-to-face in-court protocol
- 22/4/20: Practitioner and litigant guide to virtual hearings and Microsoft Teams
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
The AAT has updated the special measures Practice Directions which were put in place last year to facilitate operations during COVID-19. Following changes in circumstances and Government advice, the AAT is now able to provide some in-person services. As of 8 March 2021, special measures Practice Directions have been updated to reflect this: