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2020/21 Membership Year

Your membership is due for renewal by 30 June 2020. 

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Members COVID-19 support package

Members COVID-19 support package

By Carolyn Ford

COVID-19 Member Benefit 

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An LIV COVID-19 support package includes subsidies worth $4 million.

The LIV membership fee for 2020–21 for all fee-paying members has been discounted to $99 including GST in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The one-off reduction represents a support package in fee subsidies worth $4 million.

Accredited Specialist membership fees will also be $99 including GST. Students are still free. All other LIV fees remain unchanged and at 2019-20 rates.

As well, an assistance policy has been introduced for members in financial distress who can apply to make membership payment by instalments.

LIV president Sam Pandya said assisting members was the LIV’s primary focus, now more than ever. “The LIV assists members every way we can, that is our purpose. We are your voice and here to support you throughout your careers and in times of need. Right now is one of those times. One of the best ways we can do that is by easing the financial load and taking the pressure off with membership fees. It’s one less thing for members to have to worry about,” Mr Pandya said.

A letter, advising members of the fee cut, was sent to members late April by the LIV. CEO Adam Awty said during the COVID-19 crisis the LIV had been working to support the viability of the legal profession now and in the year ahead. “We are acutely aware of the impact the crisis is having on our members, and we are prepared to take extreme measures to support you and keep you engaged with us as we work through the crisis,” Mr Awty said.

“We know that many of you are doing it tough and while we cannot assist with your obligations for practising certificate fees and professional indemnity insurance, we can provide membership fee relief.

“To help you, the LIV board has taken a considered approach and has endorsed a reduction in all member fees for 2020-21, in excess of 80 per cent for full practising members. In doing so, we are providing a support package to our members in fee subsidies of over $4 million.”

The discount was to acknowledge the extraordinary times and would have no impact on the level of service and support offered to members and the profession.

Members would still have access to all programs offered including ethics and practice support, library, bookshop, referral service, online learning and CPD and the latest information about the profession delivered through LawNews, social media and the LIJ.

Despite LIV employees working from home, support and services had been stepped up during the crisis. Conferences, the practice management course and Accredited Specialisation programs were now delivered online. A dedicated COVID-19 hub on the LIV website, a one-stop information resource for the legal profession, had been established.

Mr Pandya said to maintain services and support while offering a low membership fee, LIV  reserves would be accessed in the short term.

“However, we are confident that the board’s decision to do so will ease the financial burden on our members and allow you to concentrate on adapting to this new normal, from the current response phase through to preparedness for rebound and recovery.

“More than ever before we are in a partnership with our 19,000 members. We need to grow to be sustainable and we need your support. We trust this measure will assist you to renew your membership and encourage others to join our LIV community.”

By renewing or joining, members supported lawyers’ professional body in working for the sustainability of the legal profession, stayed connected with their peers and accessed the latest information and LIV services and support. 

For members suffering hardship and who cannot sustain their membership, the LIV is introducing a financial assistance policy, and they are encouraged to contact membership@liv.asn.au

The LIV joins other law societies around the country in offering members relief at a time of considerable financial stress for practitioners. Also, the Victorian Legal Services Board (VLSB) and LPLC have introduced concessions for members. The VLSB will not issue a surcharge for late payment of practising certificate fees for 2020–21 and the LPLC has relaxed the due date for insurance renewal payments.

As well, Victorian legal practitioners are now exempt from going through security entrance screening processes at all 

courts from mid-April. Instead, practitioners are required to show (not hand over) a valid and current official identification card, showing the holder’s name and photograph, issued by the LIV, Victorian Bar, Office of Public Prosecutions, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions or Victoria Legal Aid. 

Court security officers must be satisfied that the identity of the practitioner matches the card. They might ask for additional information. 

Practitioners without identification cards will have to go through a security screening process which now includes reduced use of hand-held wands, avoiding contact and providing distance. Additionally, screening equipment and trays for personal effects will be cleaned.

 

Members needing an LIV photo ID member card should contact membership@liv.asn.au with member number, name, contact details, copy of driver’s licence, passport photo and mailing address. ■


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