As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, with new developments almost by the hour, we wanted to write to you to advise you of the way in which we will be able to continue to assist you in your matter.
Clearly, these are extremely concerning times, and there may be more important things for you to be concerned about than the immediate conduct of your matter. On the other hand, there may be immediate concerns that you have relating to your situation.
We want to assure you that Howe Jenkin remains open for business and able to provide you with whatever legal advice and assistance you might require. However, because of the government directions, there will necessarily be some significant changes in the way we operate our practice. There may be further changes in future and, if so, we will further advise you.
The current position with our firm is as follows:-
- All of our lawyers and non-professional staff will be working from home henceforth.
- Our office will be unattended but our phones will always be attended. Your query will be directed to the lawyer or support person to whom you will need to speak.
- We will not have any appointments in the office unless in exceptional circumstances.
- Our IT systems are sufficiently robust that we will be able to continue to service you, and progress your file, whilst working remotely from our physical office.
- If your matter is currently before either the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, we have presently been advised by the Court that there will be no Court hearings requiring the attendance of either the lawyers or the parties. All Court hearings will either be conducted by telephone, or by some video facility which the Courts are presently attempting to install. Because this has all happened very quickly, the Courts response is still evolving, and we are presently unsure as to exactly how this system will operate.
- However, the legal profession has been assured by the Courts that the Courts and the government understand the critical necessity for Australian citizens to be able to access the Family Courts at times of need, and the legal profession have been assured that, whilst there may be some delays and difficulties in implementing the systems, parties who need the assistance of the Courts will be provided with that access and assistance.
- The legal profession have also been advised by the Courts that, for the time being, there will be no defended trials heard, although as the Courts work out their technology, it may be possible for defended trials to proceed with some sort of video system. Again, we expect to know more over coming weeks.
- As the economic consequences of this crisis unfold, it would seem likely that there will be (and already has been) a significant change to the financial circumstances of so many Australians. Employment, superannuation balances and the values of houses, commercial and rural properties, shares and business are likely to be significantly affected.? We will continue to be able to provide you with experienced specialist legal advice to assist you in making the best decision for your circumstances.
- You will appreciate that the measures that we have put in place are designed to:-
9.1. Protect the health and safety of our staff.
9.2. Protect your health and safety as clients of our practice.
9.3. Put in place steps, as best we can, to continue to provide you with high quality experienced specialist family law advice.
We reassure you of our commitment to you and all of our clients.
If you have any further queries or concerns at this stage, please do not hesitate to contact any of us at any stage.