Queensland Law Society

Industry updates

Updated Monday 11 January 2021

Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs

Youth detention centres

11 January 2021 - Following on from the Premier’s announcement on 11 January, non-essential visits to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and West Moreton Youth Detention Centre have been suspended until 22 January 2021. All staff and essential workers are required to wear masks as per the Government’s mask-wearing guidelines and to practice social distancing.


8 January 2021 - To ensure the safety of staff and young people, all face-to-face personal and professional visits to Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and West Moreton Youth Detention Centre have been suspended until further notice, in line with Queensland Health advice.

Staff will work with families and other visitors to facilitate video link and phone contact. All staff and essential workers at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and West Moreton Youth Detention Centre are now required to wear a mask. Increased cleaning and infection control measures will continue.

All staff, young people, essential workers and visitors at all three youth detention centres will continue to be required to undergo health screening, including temperature checks, before entering a detention centre.

Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Townsville is still receiving personal and professional visitors. 

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Updates

16 June 2020 – the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has notified that they have registered an amending instrument to specify an end date for three COVID-19 related instruments. The ASIC Corporation (Amendment) Instrument 2020/565 makes the following amendments:

  1. The earlier amendments to the ASIC Corporations (Share and Interest Purchase Plans) Instrument 2019/547 will be repealed on 2 October 2020 (six months after the amendment commenced).
  2. The ASIC Corporations (Trading Suspensions Relief) Instrument 2020/289 will be repealed on 2 October 2020 (six months after it commenced).
  3. The ASIC Corporations (COVID-19 – Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2020/355 will be repealed on 15 October 2020 (six months after it commenced).

ASIC will continue to monitor the appropriateness of these temporary relief measures in light of the uncertain impacts of COVID-19 on capital markets and on the demand for financial advice. If ASIC considers it appropriate to end the relief before the six month period or extend the relief, ASIC will give sufficient notice before any early repeal or extension is implemented.

The media releases, the Explanatory Statement and other materials are available here.

Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response-Wills and Enduring Documents) Regulation 2020

25 May 2020 - The Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response-Wills and Enduring Documents) Regulation 2020 is a welcomed regulation dealing with the electronic signing and witnessing of a number of additional types of documents during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes affidavits, statutory declarations, deeds, general powers of attorney and certain mortgage documents. The policy objectives of the Regulation is to prescribe modified requirements or arrangements, which will apply in addition to existing requirements, for the making, signing and witnessing of wills under the Succession Act 1981 and enduring documents under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998, in reliance of the COVID-19 Response Act 2020. The Regulation also sets out a number of general requirements that must be met when using audio visual link for signing and witnessing documents. It sets out the requirements of a special witness to sign and keep a certificate that states particular matters including that the document was signed and witnessed in accordance with the Regulation. These modified arrangements will mean that these documents can continue to be made even with social distancing requirements under the COVID-19 emergency.

SAI Global

On 11 May 2020, SAI Global provided QLS with an update in relation to the steps they are taking to maintain business continuity and service to clients during this time.  These measures include obtaining further office space, maintaining two settlement rooms and managing access to the settlement room to assist with distancing requirements.  Please read this message for more information and for enquiries, call the helpdesk on 1300 730 00 or email at epropertysupport@saiglobal.com

On 27 March 2020, SAI Global confirmed that their settlement room is continuing to operate and that it is business as usual for their clients and new clients.  SAI Global has provided further information here about the measures they are taking in response to the COVID-19 impacts and to ensure the wellbeing of all is maintained.

CTP Update – COVID-19 Protocols

The four CTP providers in Queensland, Allianz, QBE, RACQ Insurance and Suncorp together with QLS and the Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland branch have agreed on 3 new protocols with respect to the conduct of CTP claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The protocols relate to the provision of Law Practice Certificates under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld), timeframes and the provision of Notice of Accident Claim forms and Claimant Certificates. The documents are aimed at providing a cooperative and pragmatic framework to address some of the challenges which parties may be experiencing during this time. We encourage practitioners to embrace the protocols with the spirit of cooperation which underpins them.   

If you have any queries in relation to the documents please contact the QLS Ethics and Practice Centre by email to ethics@qls.com.au.

Video conferencing to facilitate legal transaction in the era of social distancing

23 April 2020 - Read more in the media release from Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, The Honourable Yvette D'Ath.

Medical Assessment Tribunals and COVID-19

21 April 2020 - An update from the Office of Industrial Relations regarding the ongoing delivery of dispute resolution services for the Queensland workers' compensation scheme as Queensland responds to COVID-19.

Crown Law

27 March 2020 - Arrangements for Service of Process as at 30 March 2020

24 March 2020 - Service of documents should the CBD/the State Law Building close

Supreme Court Library

8 January 2021 

In response to the Premier’s announcement of a lockdown for Greater Brisbane, The library premises will be closed to the public from 6pm Friday 8 January until 6pm Monday 11 January (including after-hours access for registered legal practitioners).

Library staff will be working from home on Monday 8 January so members can continue to access essential library services remotely, but there will be no access to the physical collection.

26 March 2020 - The Supreme Court Library Queensland physical premises will be closed to the public until further notice from the evening of Wednesday 25 March 2020. However the library will continue to provide a full service to members.

Our priority at this time is the health and wellbeing of our staff, our customers and the wider community.

Consistent with the Federal Government directive, we are seeking to reduce the risk of infection with the novel coronavirus by closing our physical premises to the public until further notice.

Although the physical library space itself will be closed, all of our services are still running. You can still access all of our online services through our website, including: 

  • CaseLaw search
  • Virtual legal Library (for eligible, registered users)
  • Research requests 

In addition our library staff can still access the physical collection for any of your information and research requests.

Visit Supreme Court Library Queensland

WorkCover

The WorkCover website has up-to-date information on minimising the risk of exposure in the workplace and FAQs for both customers and stakeholders.

Visit WorkCover

Office of Fair Trading – Information for consumers, businesses and incorporated associations

The Office of Fair Trading has published useful information for  consumers, businesses, licensees, associations or non-profits.

Incorporated associations are advised that in the current circumstances, OFT will allow a grace period to an association of a further 6 months to hold its AGM, if required, without the need for the association to make a written application.  This will enable associations to comply with their obligations in the Associations Incorporation Act 1981, which requires an association’s annual general meeting (AGM) to be held within 6 months of the end of their financial year. 

Further information is available on the OFT website

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

The ACNC has published a dedicated webpage to assist charities affected by COVID-19. 

The ACNC advice telephone line will be closed until further notice but enquiries can be submitted via the online enquiry form.

The ACNC has granted a blanket extension for Annual Information Statements due between 12 March 2020 and 30 August 2020, extending the due date until 31 August 2020. This includes bushfire-affected charities that had previously been granted an AIS submission extension to May.

Visit the ACNC – Charity operations and COVID-19 page for information about Federal Government support for charities, procedural and governance matters and other resources. 

PEXA

Please read here for information of how PEXA is managing the COVID-19 situation for members.

Visit PEXA

Australia Taxation Office (ATO)

The ATO has announced measures to assist small business.

Visit the ATO

Lexon

Lexon is releasing alerts regularly in relation to the current pandemic. If your practice is insured with Lexon and you are not currently receiving these alerts, email Lexon now to subscribe.

Email Lexon to subscribe

Justices of the Peace Branch (JP Branch)

Justices of the Peace Branch (JP Branch) has decided to temporarily close the JPs in the Community program across the state from the last service on Saturday, 21 March 2020.

The JP Search will be the main avenue for the community to access witnessing officers in the interim.

Access witnessing officers

The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women

The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women are asking that, where possible, issuing parties in Queensland seeking child protection materials communicate via email only. Issuing parties will be contacted regarding conduct money requirements in the near future.

Read more.

Office of the Information Commissioner

The Office of the Information Commissioner is currently unable to send and receive correspondence via post, as all staff are now working remotely. Please send all mail items via email or call (07) 3234 7373 or 1800 642 753 to leave a voicemail if you wish to speak to a particular OIC officer. For information about applying for documents during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

CTP claims with Suncorp

Suncorp has provided advice to practitioners dealing with CTP claims where they are the responding insurer. For advice relating to matters involving other insurers, please contact them directly.