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COVID-19 Hub

LIV & Government FAQs for the legal profession

COVID-19 Restrictions Victoria LIV FAQs (and new Mandatory Vaccination FAQs)

Updated 22 October 2021

These questions and answers are still subject to final confirmation from the Department of Health and Human Services and have been compiled with the best of our knowledge based on Chief Health Officer Directions to date.

Ultimately, determining whether a particular activity is allowed is a matter of legal interpretation of the relevant Chief Health Officer directions. You will need to read all the new directions and form your own conclusions about whether the detail of the proposed activity is permitted or restricted.

The current Chief Health Officer directions are available here

Victorias Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan

On 19 September 2021, the Premier announced Victoria’s Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan. The Roadmap demonstrates that restrictions in Victoria will continue to ease as vaccination targets are met. The Roadmap is provided here.

At 11.59pm 21 October 2021, Victoria moved to Phase B of the Roadmap as it reached the 70% double dose requirement. Victoria is expected to move to Phase C on 5 November 2021.

There are currently separate restrictions in place in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria

There are currently separate restrictions in place in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria will come under the same rules once Victoria achieves the 80% double dose requirement per the Roadmap. This is expected to occur on 5 November 2021.

In both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, private gatherings may occur of up to 10 people (including dependents) per day. The number of people able to attend public gatherings has also increased:

  • Metropolitan Melbourne: 15 people, including dependents;
  • Regional Victoria: 20 people, including dependents.

Select premises have been permitted to open subject to various requirements, per the Open Premises Directions.

Current restriction levels in Metropolitan Melbourne:

At 11.59pm 21 October 2021, lockdown in Melbourne came to an end as Victoria reached the 70% double dose of vaccination requirement, and accordingly moved to Phase B of the Roadmap.

There is no longer a travel limit, or curfew applicable in metropolitan Melbourne. However, a person from metropolitan Melbourne must not travel to regional Victoria without a permitted reason per clause 5(3)-(7) of the Stay Safe Directions (Metropolitan Melbourne) (No 4).

Face masks must be worn at all times when leaving the home, unless an exemption applies pursuant to clause 5(8)-(11) of the Stay Safe Directions (Metropolitan Melbourne) (No 4).

The key message remains, if you can work from home in metropolitan Melbourne, you must do so (refer to Victoria’s Roadmap: Metropolitan Melbourne).

Current restriction levels in Regional Victoria:

In regional Victoria, the message is to work from home if you can do so (refer to Victoria’s Roadmap: Regional). A capacity limit for workplaces of 25% or 10 workers – whichever is greater – applies, and workplaces must ensure that they adhere to the density quotient.

A person from regional Victoria must not travel to metropolitan Melbourne without a permitted reason per clause 5(3)-(7) of the Stay Safe Directions (Regional Victoria) (No 14).

Face masks must be worn at all times when leaving the home, unless an exemption applies pursuant to clause 5(8)-(11) of the Stay Safe Directions (Regional Victoria) (No 14).

Mandatory vaccination

These FAQs are not intended to provide legal advice, and the LIV recommends that employers seek independent legal advice if considering mandatory vaccination policies or disciplinary action arising from them.

The COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) (‘the Directions’) commenced at 11.59PM 21 October 2021 and end at 11:59PM on 18 November 2021. The purpose of these Directions is to impose obligations upon employers in relation to the vaccination of workers, in order to limit the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-02) within the population of those workers’ per clause 1.

Under clause 5(3) of the Directions, a worker (being a worker identified in Column 1, Schedule 1 of the Directions, per clause 8(8)) will not be permitted to continue working on site after 15 October 2021, unless they have been vaccinated or show proof of a booking to receive the first vaccine dose by Friday 22 October 2021. They will need to be fully vaccinated by 26 November 2021.

Q1. Are lawyers considered workers under the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions?

Yes, Australian legal practitioners are considered ‘professional service workers’ where they provide services ‘in connection with the administration of justice where the services cannot be provided by an online communication, teleconference or by means of an audio-visual link facility.

Clause 8(8) of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) defines employers and workers as follows:

(8) For the purpose of these directions:

(a) employer in relation to a worker means:

(i) the person who employs or engages the worker; or

(ii) if the worker is self-employedthe worker.

(b) worker means a person identified in Column 1 of Schedule 1, whether paid or unpaid, but does not include:

(i) a Commonwealth employee;

(ii) a worker who works in connection with proceedings in a court, where that work cannot be done from the person’s ordinary place of residence; or

(iii) a person under 12 years of age.

Schedule 1 refers to professional services worker, which is defined at clause 9 (23) as below:

(a) Australian legal practitioner has the same meaning as in the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014;

(b) legal worker means:

(i) an Australian legal practitioner who provides services in connection with the administration of justice where the services cannot be provided by an online communication, teleconference or by means of an audio-visual link facility;

(ii) a person who works in connection with a person specified in subclause (i).                              

(c) professional services worker means:

(i) a person who provides a financial service within the meaning of section 766A of the Corporations Act 2001 of Commonwealth, or works in connection with the provision of such a service; or

(ii) a legal worker.

As the definition of a ‘professional services worker’ extends to a person working ‘in connection with’ an Australian Legal Practitioner, the LIV understands that legal support staff who work alongside and/or provide support to a legal practitioner on site are considered ‘workers’ and are therefore subject to the Directions.

The LIV notes that there remains an exclusion at clause 8(8)(b)(ii) for those ‘working in connection with proceedings in a court, where that work cannot be done from the person’s ordinary place of residence.

It is important to note, that Schedule 1 outlines the following dates relating to professional services workers which are referred to throughout the Directions:

  • Relevant date: 15 October 2021
  • First dose deadline: 22 October 2021
  • Second dose deadline: 26 November 2021

Q2. Do these directions apply to legal practitioners in both Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria?

As noted above, the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) apply to workers’ outlined in Schedule 1 of the Directions. The Directions apply to all legal practitioners and support staff providing services ‘in connection with the administration of justice, where the services cannot be provided by an online communication, teleconference or by audio visual link facility (clause 9(23)).

Q3. Employer obligations regarding the vaccine mandate

Clauses 4 and 5 of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) outline an employer’s obligation  to collect, record and hold vaccination information of workers, and to ensure unvaccinated workers do not work for that employer outside their ordinary place of residence (see below for further information).

Clause 5 prohibits an employer from allowing an unvaccinated worker to work outside their ordinary place of residence (clause 5(1)). If an employer does not hold vaccination information regarding a worker, they must treat the worker as unvaccinated (clause 5(2)).

Clause 5(6) outlines that an employer must notify their workers who are, or may be required to work outside their ordinary place of residence after the relevant date of their obligations, as soon as reasonably practicable after the commencement of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5). Pursuant to this clause, the employer must advise the worker that:

(a) clause 4 obliges the employer to collect, record and hold vaccination information about the worker; and

(b) subclause (1) obliges the employer, on and after the relevant date, not to permit a worker who is unvaccinated to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence unless an exception applies under these directions.

An employer is not required to comply with their obligations under clauses 4 and 5 if an exceptional circumstance pursuant to clause 6 applies. Determining whether an exceptional circumstance applies is ultimately a matter of legal interpretation, and you must form your own conclusion on a case-by-case basis – see question 7 below.

Q4. Must an employer collect vaccination information of employees who work outside their ordinary place of residence?

Employers are obligated to “collect, record and hold” vaccination information of workers, in circumstances where a worker is or may be scheduled to work for that employer, outside their ordinary place of residence on or after the relevant date. Refer to clause 4 of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) for further information.

An employer must collect the vaccination information, as soon as reasonably practicable after the commencement of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) pursuant to clause 4(4).

An employer must comply with the request of an Authorised Officer to produce vaccination information held (refer to clause 7 of the Directions).

Q5. What is vaccination information?

Vaccination information is defined at clause 8(7) of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) as follows:

(7) For the purposes of these directions, vaccination information is information about a persons vaccination status and includes information that is derived from a record of information that was made under, or in accordance with, the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 of the Commonwealth.

Note: Vaccination information may be recorded in a variety of documents, such as a letter from a medical practitioner, a certificate of immunisation or an immunisation history statement obtained from the Australian Immunisation Register.

The coronavirus website also states:

Evidence of your vaccination can include:

  • My Health Record and Medicare online account
  • Proof of relevant medical exemption (e.g. a letter from a GP)

Q6. Can unvaccinated workers continue to work from home?

Yes, unvaccinated workers may continue to work from home but they must not work outside their ordinary place of residence. Clause 5 of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) outlines that an employer must not permit an unvaccinated worker to work outside their ordinary place of residence on or after the relevant date.

An employer may only permit a worker to work outside their ordinary place of residence where an exception provided at clause 5(3)-(4) applies. Pursuant to clause 5(3) an employer may permit an unvaccinated worker who has a booking to receive, by the first dose deadline, a dose of a COVID-19 vaccination to work outside their home.

Q7. Are there any circumstances in which an employer can allow an unvaccinated worker to attend the office?

Clause 6 of the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) provides that an employer is not required to comply with their obligations under clauses 4 and 5 where one or more of the exceptional circumstances outlined in clause 6(2) applies. Where an exceptional circumstance applies, the employer must take “all reasonable steps” to ensure that the worker doesn’t work outside their ordinary place of residence longer than necessary (clause 6(3)).

The exceptional circumstances pursuant to clause 6(2) are:

  • a worker is required to perform work or duties that is or are necessary to provide for urgent specialist clinical or medical care due to an emergency situation or a critical unforeseen circumstance; or
  • a worker is required to fill a vacancy to provide urgent care, to maintain quality of care and/or to continue essential operations due to an emergency situation or a critical unforeseen circumstance; or

Example 1: a large number of workers furloughed due to exposure at a Tier 1 site.

Example 2: a medical practitioner is required to work outside their ordinary place of residence on short notice due to an emergency situation.

(c) a worker is required to respond to an emergency; or

(d) a worker is required to perform urgent and essential work to protect the health and safety of workers or members of the public, or to protect assets and infrastructure; or

(e) an education worker that is required to:

(i) carry out assessments of an oral or performance examination as part of the Victorian Certificate of Education or International Baccalaureate; or

(ii) work as a venue coordinator for those examinations.

Q8. How will the Directions be enforced?

On or after the relevant date, businesses will be required to ensure that they hold vaccination information for all their onsite workers and if an employer does not have the required vaccination information, the employer must treat the worker as unvaccinated. (Clause 5(2)).

If an authorised officer attends a workplace and finds workers who are not vaccinated, or do not have the required vaccination information by the relevant date, both employers and employees can be fined. The penalties are the same as other breaches of restrictions or directions (refer to the Fines Victoria website here). On-the-spot fines of up to $1,817 can be issued to individuals and up to $10,904 for businesses for failing to comply with the directions, whilst a court can impose a fine of up to $21,808 for individuals and $109,044 for an employer.

Q9. On what grounds can a worker object to getting vaccinated?

The Victorian Government Coronavirus website advises that the only exemption available is on medical grounds – there is no exemption for religious or other beliefs.

A person is an ‘excepted person’ pursuant to clause 8(5) of the Directions:

(a) if the person holds certification from a medical practitioner that the person is unable to receive a dose, or a further dose, of a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical contraindication; or

(b) if the person holds certification from a medical practitioner that the person is unable to receive a dose, or a further dose, of a COVID-19 vaccine due to an acute medical illness (including where the person has been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2).

A medical contraindication is defined at clause 10(7) to include one of the following contraindications to the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine:

(a) anaphylaxis after a previous dose;

(b) anaphylaxis to any component of the vaccine, including polysorbate or polyethylene glycol;

(c) in relation to AstraZeneca:

(i) history of capillary leak syndrome; or

(ii) thrombosis with thrombocytopenia occurring after a previous dose;

(d) in relation to Comirnaty or Spikevax:

(i) myocarditis or pericarditis attributed to a previous dose of either Comirnaty or Spikevax; or

(e) the occurrence of any other serious adverse event that has:

(i) been attributed to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by an experienced immunisation provider or medical specialist (and not attributed to any another identifiable cause); and

(ii) been reported to State adverse event programs and/or the Therapeutic Goods Administration;

Q10. What happens if a worker refuses to get vaccinated?

The coronavirus website states: “If the employee does not have a medical exemption, the employer is required to take reasonable steps to prevent entry of unvaccinated workers, or workers who choose to not disclose their vaccination status.

The Fair Work Ombudsman advises the following:

An employer should, as a first step, ask the employee to explain their reasons for refusing the vaccination. If the employee gives a legitimate reason for not being vaccinated (for example, an existing medical condition that means vaccination is not recommended for the employee), the employee and their employer should consider whether there are any other options available instead of vaccination. This could include alternative work arrangements. Whether disciplinary action is reasonable will depend on the circumstances.

Q11. Must I check the vaccination status of client’s who attend the office?

There has presently not been guidance published regarding whether a law firm must check the vaccination status of a client who attends the office. The COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) prescribes obligations on employers regarding the vaccination of workers and does not extend to clients.

An employer must form their own policy as to whether they must check the vaccination status of clients who attend the office, and whether they may allow unvaccinated clientele to enter the office. It is relevant for an employer to consider their occupational health and safety obligations, owed to their employees.

Whilst the Open Premises Directions do not apply to offices, an employer may wish to consider the obligations of an operator of an open premises to seek vaccination evidence from a patron.

Office Guidance

Q12. Are law firms able to return to work in metropolitan Melbourne?

The key message in metropolitan Melbourne remains, if you can work from home you must work from home.

Clause 5 of the Workplace Directions (No 52) considers the operation of the work premises when employees are in attendance, and notes the following regarding attendance at the work premises in metropolitan Melbourne:

(1) An employer in respect of a Work Premises in Metropolitan Melbourne

(a) may only permit a worker to perform work at the employers Work Premises if it is not reasonably practicable for the worker to perform work at their ordinary place of residence or another suitable premises which is not the Work Premises; and

(b) must comply with the Stay Safe Directions (Metropolitan Melbourne), the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions and all other Directions currently in force where they apply to that employer.

It is relevant to consider that the Directions define ‘reasonably practicable’ to have its ordinary and common sense meaning. Ultimately, determining whether it is ‘reasonably practicable’ for an employee to attend the office is a matter of interpretation, which an employer must determine dependent on the individual circumstances of their workers.

In determining what is reasonably practicable, it is useful to consider that the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 5) define a legal worker as an Australian legal practitioner, or a person working in connection with an Australian legal practitioner, who provides ‘services in connection with the administration of justice where the services cannot be provided by an online communication, teleconference or by means of an audiovisual link facility’. Furthermore, an employer may have regard to the Authorised Provider and Authorised Worker List is available here.

Q13. Are law firms able to return to work in regional Victoria?

Employees may attend the office if it is not reasonably practicable to work from home, and your employer has advised that it is permissible to do so in accordance with the current Directions in force. Refer to clause 6 of the Stay Safe Directions (Regional Victoria) (No 14).

Offices in regional Victoria are permitted to have up to 25% of total number of workers attend the work premises, or up to 10 workers (whichever is greater). Clause 5 of the Workplace Directions (No 52) considers the operation of the work premises when employees are in attendance. Clause 5(2) provides further information regarding employers in regional Victoria, and extract of which is provided below:

2) An employer in respect of a Work Premises in Regional Victoria:

(b) in relation to office-based Work Premises, an employer:

(i) subject to subclauses (b)(ii) and (b)(iii), may permit workers who reside in Regional Victoria and who do not fall within subclause (2)(a) to work from the employers Work Premises; and

(ii) must use their best endeavours to ensure that the number of workers permitted to attend the Work Premises at any one time is limited to the greater of: (A) 25 per cent of the total number of workers for that Work Premises; and (B) 10; and

(iii) the cap in subclause (ii) does not apply, and may be exceeded, where it is not reasonably practicable for more than 25 per cent of the total number of workers for that Work Premises or 10 workers (whichever is greater), to work at the workers place of residence or another suitable premises which is not the Work Premises; and

The density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies to all shared and publicly accessible areas at the Work Premises per clause 6(17)-(20) of the Workplace Directions (No 52).

Q14. Can I travel to work in regional Victoria if I ordinarily reside in metropolitan Melbourne (and vice versa)?

If you ordinarily reside in metropolitan Melbourne, you may only travel to regional Victoria for a reason specified pursuant to clause 5(3) of the Stay Safe Directions (Metropolitan Melbourne) (No 4).

Clause 3 notes the following:

(3) Subject to subclauses (4), (5), (6) and (7) a person who ordinarily resides in Metropolitan Melbourne during the stay safe period must not travel to Regional Victoria other than for one or more of the following reasons:

(c) if the person is an authorised worker or works for an authorised provider and is required to attend a work premises in Regional Victoria; or

(d) if permitted to attend work or obtaining education services in Regional Victoria in accordance with clause 6 (attending work or education);

Per clause 6, a person ordinarily residing in metropolitan Melbourne may only attend the work premises in regional Victoria provided they are an authorised worker, or work for an authorised provider and it is not reasonably practicable for the person to work from home.

The same applies regarding travel from regional Victoria to metropolitan Melbourne (refer to clauses 3 and 6 of the Stay Safe Directions (Regional Victoria) (No 14).

The Authorised Provider and Authorised Worker List is available here.

Q15. Do I require an authorised worker permit if attending onsite work?

No. The current Chief Health Officer Directions do not require a work permit if you attend onsite work.

Q16. Does our office require a COVIDsafe Plan?

Employers must ensure that offices have a COVIDSafe Plan if there are employees attending the office - Refer to clause 6(2) of the  Workplace Directions (No 52). See also information relating to COVIDSafe Planning available on the LIV COVID-19 Hub here.

An employer is required to comply with directions provided by Authorised Officers or WorkSafe inspectors to modify a COVIDSafe plan, refer to clause 6(5) of Workplace Directions (No 52).

Q17. Is our office required to use electronic record keeping?

Yes, an employer must keep a record of all persons who attend the Work Premises utilising the QR code system provided by the Victorian Government as per clause 6(6)-(7) of the Workplace Directions (No 52).

Where it is not reasonably practicable to record attendance using the Victorian Government QR code system or there is an access issue preventing the QR code system from operating, an employer must use an alternative record-keeping method to comply with the record keeping requirements. Refer to clause 6(8) of the  Workplace Directions (No 52).

General Queries

Q18. Are there remote supervision arrangements for new lawyers undertaking the period of supervised legal practice?

Yes, the Victorian Legal Services Board & Commissioner has provided information regarding remote supervision during COVID-19. Further information and a template plan for remote supervision is available on the VLSBC website here.

Q19. COVID and Solicitors Certificates, can they be done?

Face to face VOI is required by rule 11.2 of the Legal Profession Legal Practice (Solicitors) Rules 2015It cannot be done remotely.

When it is not possible to see the client face to face, you may be able to negotiate an alternative with the lender. The client can still receive the practitioner’s advice remotely, by video conference, and the lender may accept a client acknowledgement that the advice has been received. 

It is also prudent to bear in mind the risks of providing Solicitor’s Certificates, as they shift the risk from the lender to the solicitor. They are even riskier in uncertain times. It is recommended that you read the LPLC’s Solicitors certificates  risky business in COVID  19, as well as the LPLC’s webinar and power point slides Solicitors certificates in unusual times.

The LPLC’s Managing Mortgage Risk guide is found here.

Electronic Signing and Witnessing

Q20. What is the current situation regarding remote witnessing and electronic signing of documents?

On 23 March 2021 the Justice Legislation Amendment (System Enhancements and Other Matters) Act 2021 (Vic) (the Act) received royal assent. For the most part, the Act came into force in Victoria on 26 April 2021, being the date that the previous temporary regulations were due to end.

The LIV has recently published a Practice Note which provides further guidance on the introduction and application of the Act.  

Prior to the commencement of the Act, the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020 (Vic) temporarily allowed the remote witnessing and signing of certain documents in Victoria by audio visual link. The Act permanently amends various justice Acts to allow for the continued operation of processes and procedures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the remote witnessing and signing of certain documents in Victoria by way of audio visual link. The Act includes amendments to the following:

  • Electronic Transactions (Victoria) Act 2000;
  • Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018;
  • Wills Act 1997; and
  • Powers of Attorney Act 2014.

Q21. Can we certify copies of documents remotely?

No. The Justice Legislation Amendment (System Enhancements and Other Measures) Act 2021 does not provide for the online certification of original/true copies of documents. If the client holds the original, you will need to ask the client to send the original documents to you, and you will need to certify them in the conventional way. 

Q22. Are we still able to file unsworn affidavits with the court?

It would be prudent to check whether the relevant court has provided any information on its requirements. The Victorian Bar Incorporated has produced a Consolidated Guide to Victorian and Commonwealth Court and Tribunal Responses to COVID-19 (PDF), which on page 43 refers to a court’s inherent power to admit unsworn affidavits.

Q23. Remote witnessing in Family Law, Migration and general federal law matters. Does the Justice Legislation Amendment (System Enhancements and Other Matters) Act 2021 (Vic) apply?

 

On 7 September 2021 the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia issued FCFCOA Practice Direction COVID 19 Special Measures (PD)

It applies to all proceedings commenced on or after 1 September 2021, and, unless it is unfair or impractical to do so, to proceedings commenced prior to that date. It revokes and replaces Joint Practice Direction 2 of 2020: Special Measures in response to COVID – 19. The PD provides in Paragraph 5:

Signatures on documents and affidavits:

5.1 The Court acknowledges that the COVID-19 environment may pose significant challenges to having Court documents sworn or affirmed.

5.2 The Court will accept documents for filing that have been signed electronically by the deponent and/or the legal representative on record for that party. Documents may be signed electronically by affixing an electronic signature or by typing in the relevant space in the signature block.

5.3 If a person is unable to have a document witnessed in person, they should endeavour to have the document witnessed by a qualified witness via electronic means, including by video. Legal practitioners and parties should refer to the relevant State or Territory legislation for information about how to witness documents electronically. (Emphasis added)

5.4 If a person is unable to have a document witnessed via electronic means, the Court will accept documents for filing that have been signed without a qualified witness, except for an Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce). This is subject to the deponent of the document being made available by telephone, video-conference or in person at a subsequent Court event to swear or affirm that the contents of the document are true and correct to the best of their knowledge, information and belief, if requested by the presiding judicial officer.

The LIV Justice Legislation Amendment (System Enhancements and Other Matters Act 2021 Practice Note provides assistance with electronic signatures and remote witnessing.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support

Q24. Where can I access mental health support?

We recognise that the current situation continues to challenge our resilience.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or just struggling to cope please ask for help. LIV members can contact the LIV’s Member Counselling Service 24/7 on 1800 818 728 (services delivered through our partner, AccessEAP).  You should also check relevant government websites to see what mental health services may be available to you.

Additional LIV Support Services

Q25. What services does the LIV have available to support me?

The LIV welcomes Megan Fulford in the new role of Wellbeing Manager in the Ethics, Wellbeing & Practitioner Support Department. Megan will develop the mental health and wellbeing strategy for LIV members, and facilitate the promotion of new wellbeing initiatives in response to member needs for the benefit of the profession. Megan has worked as a consultant psychologist in the public sector as well as large corporate organisations and brings a wealth of experience to the LIV.

The Law Institute of Victoria is investing in expanding and diversifying our support for members in these unprecedented times. We are now able to offer members a number of new or extended services that have been designed to assist practitioners understand the impact of COVID-19 on their Firms and facilitate a phased return to onsite work as Victoria moves towards COVID normal.

The free and confidential services are provided by a panel of experienced and highly qualified subject matter experts, and have been designed to complement existing services, tools and resources.

Employment Law Advisory Service (New Service)

Providing confidential advice to members with respect to employment law issues arising from the impact of COVID-19.

The service is available to:

  • Individuals with personal employment law queries related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Practitioners, Managing Partners or Legal Practitioner Directors of an Incorporated Legal Practice with enquiries related to the conduct of their practice, where their practice has no more than 5 PC holders (unless otherwise agreed on a case by case basis).

Contact us for a referral:

Infection Control and COVIDSafe Planning (New Service)

Providing advice on infection control principles and the development of a COVID Safe Plan for your legal practice.

Contact the Practice Support Line for a referral:

You can also visit the LIV COVID-19 Hub for information and resources for the legal profession.

Ethical Guidance (Existing Service)

Access confidential ethics guidance, support and resources to assist lawyers in making informed decisions, including accessing confidential support via the Ethics help line, submitting a ruling request to the LIV Ethics Committee, staying on top of ethics guidelines and ruling updates, and participating in ethics professional development workshops.

Practice Support Line (Existing Service)

Access support via the Practice Support helpline regarding starting, managing and closing a legal practice, human resources, day to day practice issues and requirements and obligations under the Legal Profession Uniform Law.

Practice Management Consultancy Service (Now includes Cashflow Management advice)

The Practice Management Consultancy Service (PMConsult) is a bespoke confidential service designed to assist practitioners who may need a helping hand to develop their practice and risk management skills and comply with the Uniform Law and Legal Profession Uniform Rules.

The service compliments the existing Practice Support Line and provides an additional layer of support via a confidential and complimentary one-on-one consultancy service which is designed to work with practitioners to strengthen areas of practice management and develop remedial action plans.

The service has been expanded to provide access to experts who can assist with cashflow management, guidance on government assistance programs and practice strategy.

Trust Accounting (Existing Service)

The Trust Consultancy Service (TrustConsult) is a confidential service designed to support legal practitioners implement sound management practices, or validate existing practices, in the way trust money and trust records are handled, ensuring the Uniform Law and Legal Profession Uniform General Rules requirements are met.

The services range from a telephone help line to a one-on-one consultancy service with an experienced practitioner with significant expertise in trust management.

The coronavirus response is constantly evolving, and the LIV is working hard to provide timely updates to its members. We recommend that you check the DHHS website for more information and advice about current restriction levels in Victoria.

The LIV COVID-19 Hub is also regularly updated with FAQs, practice notes, templates and checklists. You can also call the LIV Practice Support Line: (03) 9607 9378.