Covid-19 update for the ACT legal profession

Monday, 24 January 2022

Covid-19 update for the ACT legal profession

The Law Society is monitoring the current situation, and will update this page as new information becomes available.

Please note that from midnight on Tuesday 21 December, mask wearing will once again be mandatory in indoor settings (including offices) in the ACT. Read More +

Members should follow guidance from the ACT Government, and continue to use the ACT Government's Check In CBR App. Members are encouraged to refer to the following resources:


ACT Law Society updates

For the continued protection of staff and others, visitors to the ACT Law Society must still check in using the Check in CBR app. Visitors should also continue to maintain appropriate physical distancing, comply with displayed density limits, use the available hand sanitiser, and are kindly asked to wear a mask when in the public area.

Any person who is unwell with any cold or flu like symptoms, no matter how mild and whether vaccinated or not, is asked not to attend the office.

  • Committee meetings will continue to be held online until 2022.
  • Pro Bono Clearing House meetings will be held online where possible. 

Restrictions affecting legal practice

Practitioners will be aware that legal services can resume in a Covid safe way. The ACT government has published its pathway out of lockdown, including guidance for business, on its website at www.covid19.act.gov.au. We recommend monitoring the Business FAQs on this website, which are regularly updated. Law firms should have regard to the general guidance for business on the website applying from 15 October. Members should regularly consult the public health directions and www.covid19.act.gov.au website to stay up to date with their responsibilities.

Use of the Settlements Office

The Settlements Office will continue to operate in a Covid safe manner and having regard to Public Health Directions. The following rules will be in effect at the Settlements Office from Monday 15 November:

  • The building will be open to the public.
  • The office is working on the basis of one person per 2 square metres, meaning the number of users is limited to a maximum of 50 at any time.
  • Any person entering the office is required to check in on entry using the Check in CBR app, and must use the provided hand sanitiser. For ease of check-in, QR codes are displayed at the entry and on every table in the office.
  • Given the face to face transactional nature of the space, all users of the office must continue to wear a mask at all times ;and should maintain a 1.5m physical distance between them, having regard to the current public health directions.
  • Users of the office must wipe down touch points after each transaction, including desktops and chair arms. Hand sanitiser and antiseptic wipes have been provided for this purpose.
  • Any user who is unwell with any cold or flu like symptoms, no matter how mild and whether vaccinated or not, must not attend the office – they should stay home and get tested for COVID-19 and do not return to the office until a negative test is received.
  • Anyone who has been to an identified case location must not attend the office and should follow health directions for isolation and testing.
  • All users should continue to monitor and comply with updates to the restrictions on the ACT Health Covid-19 website.

Events, including Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The safety of our members and staff is our biggest priority. We will be following ACT Health guidelines, including QR code sign-ins, mask-wearing, social distancing, and surface cleaning between events. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our Professional Development & Events Officer, Liz Francis, on liz.francis@actlawsociety.asn.au.

Mental health support

We want to remind members that they can contact our EAP, Acacia Connection, for support at any time. Phone 1300 364 273 (24/7) or visit their website for online options at acaciaconnection.com

You can also call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service on 1800 512 348 or Lifeline on 131114.

Useful guidance notes

Remote working and confidentiality. Guidance for law practices on supervision of staff working remotely and ensuring confidentiality of client information. [read more]

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. The Law Society’s Industrial Relations Committee has published a guide to help ACT law firms with HR questions related to work health and safety, returning to work, and work from home requirements. [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: Canberra COVID-19 Legal Help

Other services

ACT Corrective Services

Limited face-to-face social visits are due to recommence at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). 


Courts updates

ACT Courts and Tribunal

The ACT Supreme Court has delayed the return to in-person appearances until further notice. All apperances will continue by AVL where appropriate.

For the most up to date information about court operations, please visit their respective news pages:

Court-specific Practice Directions and special COVID-19 measures are set out below.

High Court of Australia

The High Court building is open only when the Court is sitting and hearings can be attended if permitted by current COVID-19 restrictions. If you have business with the Court in Canberra please contact the Registry by email at canberra.registry@hcourt.gov.au or by telephone 02 6270 6857. 

Federal Court of Australia

There will be no face-to-face services in court registries (except WA), unless otherwise approved by the Head of Jurisdiction.

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Webinars
Guidelines