COVID temporary measures extended to April 2022 – permanency measures to follow

Queensland temporary measures for COVID-19 have been further extended to 30 April 2022 with the assent to the Public Health and Other Legislation (Further Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Act 2021 in September this year.

Relevantly, this Act extends the operation of measures to 30 April 2022 under the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response— Documents and Oaths) Regulation 2020, which allows the modified requirements or arrangements to continue to apply for the making, signing and witnessing of affidavits and statutory declarations, advance health directives (permitting witnessing by particular nurses), general powers of attorney, deeds and particular mortgages.

The temporary COVID-19 measures that were in place for wills and enduring documents expired on 30 June 2021.

Complementing the extension of the temporary measures, the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response – Permanency) Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced into Queensland Parliament in September this year. This new Bill embeds permanently a number of temporary measures put in place during COVID-19, including:

  • making, signing and witnessing of certain documents by allowing for electronic signing and witnessing via video link for documents such as affidavits, statutory declarations, general powers of attorney for businesses, deeds and particular mortgages 
  • allowing nurse practitioners, in addition to doctors, to sign a certificate which forms part of an advance health directive stating that the person making the AHD appears to have capacity
  • streamlining domestic and family violence proceedings by permanently retaining measures adopted under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 which allow for domestic and family violence matters to be heard via video or audio link, the operation of alternative verification processes for temporary protection orders and electronic filing, where approved by the principal registrar.

Read the QLS submission on the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response – Permanency) Amendment Bill 2021 and the transcript of our appearance at the public hearing at page 5.

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