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Courts to continue with permanent COVID measures

In a previous update on the Victorian Courts and Tribunals, we considered how disputes will continue to be managed and determined this year as State Government restrictions begin to ease in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Generally, the Victorian Courts and Tribunals will continue to largely manage matters online and in response to this, on 23 March 2021, the Victorian Parliament passed the Justice Legislation Amendment (System Enhancements and Other Matters) Bill 2021. Under this legislation, previous temporary COVID-19 measures relating to the administration of justice will now be given a permanent status from 26 April 2021.

The Bill aims to permanently amend various legislation to provide for the on-going operation of certain processes and procedures implemented in the Victorian Courts and Tribunals during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include enabling Courts to hear a broader range of matters using audio visual link and pass suitable decisions without requiring an in-person hearing, ensuring more matters are heard quickly and Court users are kept safe. Further, the legislation continues to include measures to allow for electronic signing and remote witnessing of important legal documents including deeds, wills, powers of attorney, affidavits and statutory declarations.

Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes introduced the new legislation to the Victorian Parliament which hopes to achieve:

  • Modernisation of the judicial system in Victoria
  • Greater access for Victorians to the Courts, Tribunals, and legal processes
  • A more efficient judicial process
  • Prevent further disruption to judicial processes while keeping Court users safe

A number of key stakeholders including the Law Institute of Victoria, the Courts and the Office of the Public Advocate were consulted in the drafting of the Bill, in particular to ensure that appropriate safeguards against misuse have been included in the electronic witnessing reforms.

With benefits of now permanent processes and procedures in our Courts and Tribunals, the barriers of location for clients, legal practitioners and barristers will no longer be an issue in the process of dispute resolution before or during court proceedings.

If you have any queries in relation to a dispute you might be considering, experiencing or at risk of experiencing, please do not hesitate to contact our Litigation & Dispute Resolution Team. Please contact Rosy Roberts, Principal or Meghan Warren, Principal on rroberts@burkelaweyers.com.aumwarren@burkelawyers.com.au respectively, or by contacting our office on + 61 3 9822 8588.

Insight written by Rosy Roberts

Contacts

Meghan Warren

Principal

Meghan Warren

Principal
LL.B GAICD B.Bus (FinPlan)
Meghan is one of the few lawyers in Australia admitted in the State (Victoria) and Federal jurisdictions of Australia, and as an Attorney at Law to the New York State Bar in the United States.

Rosy Roberts

Principal

Rosy Roberts

Principal
LL.B (Hons) B.A GAICD
Rosy has extensive experience in Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution having represented clients in all Victorian State Courts and the High Court of Australia. She is also a VCAT appointed Administrator.

Anthony Burke

Consultant

Anthony Burke

Consultant
B.A LL.B DIP.FIN. MGT
Tony is an LIV accredited business law specialist and a VCAT appointed Administrator. In 2008 he was President of the Law Institute of Victoria and served for two years as a director of the Law...

Rohani Bixler

Special Counsel

Rohani Bixler

Special Counsel
LL.B (Hons) BA (PSYCH)
Rohani holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Monash University, and has practiced exclusively in the areas of estate planning, deceased estate administration and estate litigation and disputes since...

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