We are monitoring COVID-19 developments and all efforts to contain the risk posed by the virus. To protect the health and safety of members and staff of the association, we will continually update the following list of resources.
New South Wales Bar Association Vaccination policy
The Bar Council has approved a New South Wales Bar Association Vaccination Policy
messages from President
All the president's messages since the COVID-19 crisis began
We are maintaining a consolidated guide to the various COVID-19-related court arrangements in NSW and in federal courts and tribunals. The guide covers information for those attending court as well as up to date information on procedural changes being made in view of the coronavirus pandemic in the various jurisdictions.
Alternative dispute resolution
We have a fact sheet on alternative dispute resolution during COVID-19.
Protocol for In-Person Hearings while Social Distancing
We have prepared a Protocol for In-Person Hearings while Social Distancing. It is designed to apply to all in-person hearings, not just criminal jury trials and is intended to provide guidance to practitioners who are required to appear in court in person during the COVID-19 pandemic, while social distancing restrictions continue or risks to health otherwise persist. This Protocol is likely to be amended as circumstances change.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
We have a fact sheet on alternative dispute resolution during COVID-19.
Protocol for Remote Hearings
The Bar Association has prepared a Protocol for Remote Hearings for the benefit of its members and the courts. The protocol was developed by a diverse sub-committee comprised of members from a wide range of areas of practice. It has been provided to the Chief Justice of NSW and has received his Honour's endorsement.
Remote advocacy skills
The Australian Advocacy Institute has produced a 24-minute video to assist all practitioners meeting the demands of effective communication using remote video access to court.
Court technology assistance for barristers
The Bar Association wants to help those required to use online hearings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist, our Innovation and Technology Committee will provide email assistance to members having connectivity issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For news and insights into videoconferencing tools, you can visit Court Technology Assistance for Barristers, which is a Linkedin Group. User guides and instruction manuals issued by courts and tribunals can be viewed and downloaded.
COVID-19 LEGISLATION, ORDERS, DIRECTIONS & REGULATIONS
NSW COVID-19 LEGISLATION
The NSW Government’s NSW Legislation COVID-19 website contains up to date information concerning COVID-19 related Acts, Regulations, public health orders and environment and planning orders which are currently in force. This is available here: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/information/covid19-legislation
The NSW Public Health Orders information page can be found here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe/rules
CROSS-JURISDICTIONAL TABLE OF COVID-19 ACTS AND INSTRUMENTS
The Federal Court of Australia has prepared and maintained a comprehensive table of COVID-19 Orders, Directions, Regulations and Related Resources across all Commonwealth, State and Territory Jurisdictions.
The table of Commonwealth legislation is available here: https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/covid19/legislation/commonwealth
The table of New South Wales legislation is available here: https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/covid19/legislation/nsw
COVID-19 AND CRIMINAL LAW PROCEDURE
Resources from the Public Defenders Office can be found here: https://www.publicdefenders.nsw.gov.au/Pages/c19resources.aspx
COVID-19 JURISPRUDENCE & VICTORIAN RESOURCES
The Judicial College of Victoria is maintaining a useful resource titled Coronavirus: Jurisprudence, Emergency Laws and the Courts: https://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/news/new-coronavirus-jurisprudence-emergency-laws-and-courts
COVID-19 related developments in commercial law and practice
The Commercial Law Section has prepared notes on various COVID-19-related decisions that have come out and other developments that are relevant to commercial practice. The document summarises recent legislative and judicial developments relevant to commercial practice in light of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not constitute legal advice and readers should undertake their own research and seek up to date advice relevant to their particular circumstances.
Criminal law resources
The Public Defenders have compiled an excellent online resource for criminal lawyers, which includes court and AVL information, as well as draft submissions and bail, sentencing and procedural cases. The Public Defenders’ COVID-19 webpage also allows practitioners to report confidentially their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist with future law reform and debate.
BAR ASSOCIATION SERVICES
We have implemented a remote working policy for staff which enables full services to continue to be offered to members during office hours, even during periods when the office may be forced to close at little to no notice. Members will be kept informed in real time via In Brief if the office closes due to either a mandated lockdown or if there has been a confirmed case of Covid on site requiring closure and a deep clean of the premises. If the office is closed, members can still contact us via phone 9232 4055, or refer to the below e-mail addresses for specific enquiries. If the office is closed, please do not send any correspondence in hard copy, as it will not be received.
- Certification - enquiries should be sent to email@example.com
- Professional Conduct Department - All material, marked for the attention of the relevant staff member should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- The Bar Library - can be contacted for assistance at email@example.com;
- All other enquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org . Emails are monitored and responded to.
Continuing Professional Development
The Bar Association continues to offer all CPDs online so members can comply with their CPD requirements. All CPDs that are being held continue to be advertised via In Brief. Practitioners simply login to CPD Online and or join the CPD sessions live using the links advertised in In Brief. There is no limit to the number of points that can be accrued through the private study of audio-visual material. To further assist members in completing there CPD points, the association has prepared a companion guide information package with links to a small sample of recent online CPD sessions.
PwC Australia has provided the Australian Bar Association a high-level summary of tax issues associated with the spread of COVID-19.
The Bar Association assists members with recovery from solicitors of unpaid fees, which have been outstanding for more than six months, but less than two years.
We have established a pool of experienced insurance counsel who will be available to answer questions from members regarding income protection insurance. Members seeking assistance with income protection matters should email the association at email@example.com and provide a scanned copy of their policy and a short outline of their circumstances and their particular question or questions.
The Barristers Benevolent Fund
Since the pandemic began, the Barristers’ Benevolent Association has been available to assist members facing financial hardship. Where COVID-19 related, applications will generally be given in the form of a loan. These may be granted on interest free terms. The terms of the loan will be reviewed 12 months from the granting of the loan. An online application form for COVID-19 related assistance is available here.
Working from home (WFH)
Be mindful of your resilience and wellbeing during this challenging time. Working from home can increase stress and reduce wellbeing. The Black Dog Institute has published a working from home checklist to support your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some tips to setting up your practice at home.
If you're concerned about yourself or a colleague, visit barcare.org or phone phone 0427 317 958
Employers should provide information and brief all employees and contract staff, including domestic and cleaning staff where applicable, on relevant information and procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- World Health Organization, Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
- New South Wales Government, Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for businesses
- Australian Government, Coronoavirus (COVID-19) information for employers
- Norton Rose Fulbright, Coronavirus and Discrimination: The balance between protecting the workforce and community and avoiding unlawful discrimination
Public health information
Human coronaviruses are spread from someone with confirmed coronavirus to other close contacts with that person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.
- Australian Government, Department of Health, COVID-19 resources
- NSW Department of Health, NSW Health website
- Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases
- Center for Disease Control (United States, CDC), Coronavirus Disease 2019
- World Health Organization, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public