Queensland Law Society

QLS urges patience for storm-ridden NQ

NQ Courthouse closures – Friday 1 February 2019:

  • Townsville Magistrates Court
  • Townsville District Court
  • Townsville Supreme Court

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QLS President Bill Potts has cautioned Queensland solicitors currently facing the ‘big wet’ in North Queensland to put their safety first, and for unaffected colleagues to be patient during this time.

Townsville has been declared a disaster zone, with more rain and flooding on the way. The situation – although not abnormal for locals – has caused all schools to be closed today, and businesses are being urged to allow workers to stay home.

Mr Potts said that safety and lives were the most important during a natural disaster, and urged solicitors in the region to consider working remotely if their firm is in any danger.

“Our North Queensland colleagues are some of the toughest around and they do face heavy rains and weather events each year,” he said.

“However, with flooding being very unpredictable, and roads increasingly busy, we ask that anyone in potential danger consider alternative working arrangements, including staying off the roads.

“Today, all courts will be closed in Townsville, but we have been told that the Magistrates Arrest Court is in operation today, however, only one Magistrate will be sitting in custody matters.

“Other matters will be adjourned at a later date, as will matters from the Magistrates, Supreme and District Courts.

“The Legal Aid Queensland Townsville office and the Townsville Office of the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is also closed.

“Electronic functions are still available.

“For members of the public requiring Legal Aid assistance, you can phone 1300 65 11 88 or visit their website.

“As always, we are unaware how long firms may be out of communication, so we ask members of the public and the profession to extend courtesy and be aware that some firms may be uncontactable.”

Mr Potts said that there was assistance for those affected by the weather event, including disaster guidelines via the Legal Aid Queensland website, tips for storm preparedness via Queensland’s State Emergency Service’s website, and more specific information for law firms who are covered by Lexon Insurance at their website (login required).

“Our QLS Ethics and Practice Support Centre have also prepared some guidance for law practices affected by flooding or extreme weather conditions which can be found here.

“We will endeavour to keep members updated as the situation progresses.”