How new 2020 laws are affecting litigation in Victoria

What all Commercial Litigation Lawyers in Melbourne should know.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live in Victoria for 2020. The way we do things is likely going to keep changing to fit the level of restrictions in place. Litigation in Victoria is no exception. Noticing the need for reform, the Victorian Government has made swift moves to introduce temporary laws for the Victorian justice system. These new laws have changed the way Commercial Litigation Lawyers in Melbourne perform their duties in court.

Back in April, the Victorian government announced temporary changes to laws that will expire after six months. Areas of law that have seen the most change include bail reporting rules and the allowing councils to conduct meetings online. Appropriation bills were also on the agenda. These bills grant the public service access to much-needed funds for COVID-19 relief.

To seek legal advice from a Commercial Litigation Lawyer in Melbourne, contact P&B Law today.

New changes for bail reporting

The controversial decision was made to suspend bail reporting to police stations. So all people currently on bail in Victoria have a temporary reprieve. Bail reporting is usually monitored and conducted by police and protective services officers.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stated that all reporting had to be suspended in order to uphold social-distancing measures currently in place for the state. So police officers and protective services officers will be protected from any potential risk associated with close contact that usually takes place during bail reporting.

Any person reporting on bail will still be required by law to adhere to all other conditions of their bail. This temporary change in law will effectively prevent an estimated 40,000 visits to police stations per month. In some cases, people are required to report to the police several times a week. These measures will affect approximately 3000 people on bail in Victoria.

How judge-only trials and electronic monitoring have changed

Judge-only trials will be allowed to continue but only if both the defendant and prosecution agree. Commercial Litigation Lawyers in Melbourne who visit Victorian court or tribunal hearings will be expected to wear face masks along with other courtroom attendants. Very particular exemptions have been made for wearing masks such as the following:

  • Judicial officers can remove face coverings when addressing the court
  • Face coverings can be removed to confirm the identity of individuals
  • Court staff and witnesses are permitted to remove face coverings when needed

The magistrates court also have new powers to impose electronic monitoring conditions for offenders who are on community correction orders. Before COVID-19, these powers were traditionally only reserved for higher courts. These two changes to the law have again been put in place to reduce person-to-person interactions. These law changes should result in fewer people attending trials and other legal proceedings

New council measures

Local councils have also experienced a bit of a shakeup with new guidelines and laws in place. COVID-19. Council meetings are now permitted to display planning permits electronically. This furthermore limits the interactions between council members and local residents wishing to attend council meetings. Planning permits for new building projects are now displayed online.

Previously planning permits could be displayed with a combination of a display notice on the land, physical letters being sent to adjoining property owners, and a notice of application in the local newspaper. The new electronic display methods could potentially leave residents in the dark about planning permits that affect their local community. This absence of knowledge for local building projects will make it harder for residents to challenge permits.

There’s also been no official word yet on any planned changes to the way councils review objections to planning permits. Councils are currently obligated to review any appeals, send an initiating order to the person making the appeal, and organise an official hearing.

Get guidance from our Commercial Litigation Lawyers in Melbourne

Are you still confused about the temporary laws in place for Victoria? Or maybe they just seem misleading? If you are planning to take legal action during COVID-19 restrictions, seek the advice of our Commercial Litigation Lawyers in Melbourne for anything that falls under commercial law. Temporary laws have had a huge effect on the way litigation is carried out.

The Litigation Lawyers at P&B Law are more than qualified to give you sound legal advice for any legal action you want to take in Victoria. They can help explain to you the challenges of commercial disputes and Litigation and assess your personal case. The Lawyers at P&B law can also guide you through the process of negotiations and court proceedings if need be.

Contact our Commercial Litigation Lawyers in Melbourne for any legal advice during COVID-19 restrictions.

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COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

Please be aware that due to the spread of Covid – 19 and on the recommendation of Government the decision has been made that from 5pm Wednesday 8 July 2020 to close the office once again to help slow the spread of the virus.

During this time our team will continue to operate remotely and can be contacted by email, on their mobile phones or through our website. All ongoing files will continued to be worked on and new work is always welcome.

We ask for people’s understanding in these uncertain times and hope everyone stays healthy.