Video conferencing to facilitate legal transactions in era of social distancing

Queensland legal practitioners will be able to use video conferencing technology to conduct a range of transactions that usually require face to face meetings, as coronavirus social distancing requirements remain in place.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice said laws passed in State Parliament allow for more flexible arrangements to conduct important and pressing legal transactions.

“There are a number of requirements across the statute book as well as the common law which requires a thing to be done in person,” she said.

“This includes the witnessing of documents, attendance at meetings or a visit or inspection by an authorised person of a particular site.

“Currently, social distancing requirements and other COVID-19 related restrictions make it difficult or impossible to meet those requirements safely or on time.

“That’s why we’ve put in place alternative arrangements for how documents are made, meetings are held and attendances are conducted.

“Modified arrangements could include allowing meetings to be held or inspections carried out using audio visual technology for example.

“The making of documents such as wills, general powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney, advance health directives, statutory declarations, deeds and many other types of documents are also available under the modified arrangements.

“This is about giving certainty to the legal profession and ensuring the community can continue to conduct important legal affairs, particularly with respect to end of life decision making and estate planning.”

Mrs D’Ath said the new laws allow regulations to be made which will enable courts to be responsive to health advice for the protection of individuals and the community, while continuing to deliver justice for Queenslanders.

“While social distancing remains in place, these laws enable our courts to adopt alternative processes that still serve the interests of justice, while keeping more people safe and at home,” she said.

“I want to thank the Bar Association of Queensland and the Queensland Law Society for engaging with government to bring about these important measures.”

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