Working with you during COVID-19

Dear Valued Client,

 

In light of the recent unfortunate global COVID-19 pandemic, Kozarov Lawyers is closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds, as your health and well being is our top priority.

 

Our office is aware of the severity of the current pandemic and will continue to align our COVID-19 response with the advice of State and Federal health authorities. This includes practising social distancing and avoiding being in close contact with others as has been increasingly recommended by the World Health Organisation.

 

The safety of our employees, clients and the wider community is our top priority and our office will not be taking any risks when it comes to the health, safety and well being of our employees and clients.

 

Kozarov Lawyers is dedicated to continue our business practise as per usual, however, we have taken precautionary measures and encourage our employees and clients to do so in a safe manner.

 

As such, our office has begun working remotely from home and will be utilising a number of teleconferencing and videoconferencing software’s to minimise physical interactions. This form of communication will also extend to our client meetings, mediations and other like conferences accordingly.

 

We acknowledge there is some concern among employees and clients, but please be assured we are following all advice provided to us and are prepared to implement additional measures as they become necessary.

Family Law

The Family Law Courts have implemented flexible arrangements by adapting to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with Court hearings being utilised by Microsoft Teams or by teleconference. Practice directions have been implemented to enable the Family Law Courts to deal with disputes during this COVID-19 environment. A COVID-19 List has been established by the Family Law Courts to deal with urgent Family Law matters.

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) have each established a Court list dedicated to dealing exclusively with urgent Family Law disputes that have arisen as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list commenced on Wednesday 29 April 2020.

The operation of the COVID-19 Lists is set out in Joint Practice Direction 3 of 2020.

Can I file in the COVID-19 List?

To be eligible for the COVID-19 List, you must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The application has been filed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • The matter is urgent;

  • The application is accompanied by an Affidavit (using the COVID-19 template affidavit) that addresses all of the criteria;

  • If safe to do so, you have made reasonable attempts to resolve the issue but you were unsuccessful;

  • The matter can be dealt with using electronic means (e.g.: using telephone or videoconferencing).

Examples:

  • Supervised contact: your current parenting arrangements involve supervised contact, and the contact centre is closed or the supervisor cannot perform their role and you cannot agree on an alternative.

  • Border restrictions: you live in a different state to the other party and your child or children cannot travel between residences due to border restrictions.

  • Medical: you, the other party and/or the child have tested positive for COVID-19 and you cannot fulfil the parenting obligations due to sickness or concerns of infection.

  • Family violence: there has been an increase in risk due to family violence as a result of the restrictions imposed on families due to COVID-19.

Criminal Law

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted all areas of our society. The criminal law and the administration of justice has not been unaffected.

The Magistrates’ Courts have now adjourned tens of thousands of cases, not deemed a priority, to a nominal date in November. The matters that are continuing are those hearings that can safely continue or those hearings that must continue. They are bail applications, remands relating to family violence, filing hearings, committal mentions and county court appeals.  The Courts are now also utilising technology called webex that allows certain matters to proceed remotely. Kozarov Lawyers have been involved in a number of webex hearings.

 

All Courts will try and get ahead of what can only be described as a crippling backlog of cases and those that are prepared and ready to move forward will benefit.

A primary benefit relates to resolving matters that must resolve early. The Supreme Court has recently stated that an early plea of guilty in the current climate will attract substantial utilitarian value, noting the current public health concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus and the backlog of cases in the Courts. See this recent Supreme Court decision DPP v Bourke [2020] VSC 130 (16 March 2020)

There are also important ramifications for bail, see the Supreme Court decision of Tong [2020] VSC 141 (26 March 2020), where COVID-19 was used to establish exceptional circumstances as to why an accused should be released on bail, in combination with other factors.

 

If you have a matter listed at Court or require a bail application, call Kozarov Lawyers  on 03 8639 5888 or 1300 208 838 or email us on info@kozarovlawyers.com. If you require an appointment, we have video and phone conferencing services available.

Intervention Orders

The Magistrates' Court remains open, however due to COVID-19, all attendances at a court building must be by prior arrangement (except for urgent family violence applications). Intervention Orders can now be applied for online. Government directions have allowed those who are at risk of family violence can leave home despite the current Stage 4 restrictions.

If your matter is not listed in the Online Magistrates’ Court, it will be adjourned.

The Court will send you a hearing notice with a new date for later in the year. You must attend court on the new date in the hearing notice. If you are on bail, your bail will be extended without the need for you to appear. You must attend court on the new date in the hearing notice (that will be later in the year).

 

How can you stay up-to-date?

 

The Australian Department of Health is providing updates: www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus

 

The World Health Organization has established a corona viruses webpage, with relevant links and resources: www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

We encourage you to bookmark these resources on your devices, to ensure you are aware of the latest information and updates regarding this pandemic.

You can still contact our office on 03 8639 5888 or 1300 208 838 or email us on info@kozarovlawyers.com

We wish you all the best during this challenging unprecedented time.

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© 2020 KOZAROV LAWYERS PTY LTD, All rights Reserved.

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