Law Society welcomes COVID-19 arrangements for electronic witnessing of legal documents

President of the Law Society of NSW, Richard Harvey, has welcomed the passing of an emergency regulation which allows for the witnessing of legal documents to be conducted electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary provisions, which have been added to the Electronic Transactions Regulation 2017, provide altered arrangements for the witnessing of documents.

“As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, many solicitors contacted the Law Society expressing concern about the difficulties that the restrictions have created for the witnessing of legal documents,” Mr Harvey said.

“The Law Society immediately raised these concerns with the NSW Government, and I would like to thank the Attorney General for moving so quickly to enact these provisions.

“I am pleased that solicitors now have a practical alternative for the witnessing of documents in the coming weeks and months.

“As the Attorney has indicated, more work is needed to provide legally robust provisions to allow for the electronic signing of legal documents.

“We appreciate that the new arrangements may not be appropriate in all circumstances and we would ask solicitors to carefully consider their application.

“We will continue to work with the profession to identify and find solutions for those situations that the COVID-19 restrictions have made very challenging.

“We are working on this as a matter of priority,” Mr Harvey said.