• Tony Bosworth

Pandemic pluses - strangely there are some…

…including video conferencing technology which has been used to allow important legal documents to be witnessed online, rather than doing so in person, and which may well become the norm rather than a pandemic-exception.

Because the system has worked so well over the past few months, the NSW Parliament has voted to extend its use for another year.

“This law enables arrangements introduced at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce face-to-face contact to continue,” Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston said.

“These arrangements allow a witness to see the signatory signing a document in real time over an audio-visual link (AVL),” Ms Preston said.

“People in the Hawkesbury have already had the opportunity to take advantage of video conferencing technology to complete these transactions safely and efficiently and I’m thrilled that this practice can now continue.”

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the new law enabled the remote witnessing of documents via video conferencing technology to continue until the end of 2021.

“The safety and wellbeing of NSW residents is a priority which is why we changed the way these documents can be witnessed,” Mr Speakman said.

“Countless legal documents are signed every day in front of one or more witnesses but video conferencing technology enables these important forms to be completed efficiently and without the risk of face-to-face interaction.”

Under the extension, a witness can sign a document, or a copy of the document, to confirm they witnessed the signatory’s signature via AVL. This could be done on a hard copy, which is scanned and sent to the witness or on an identical counterpart of the document the signatory signs.

Traditional methods of signing and witnessing these documents also remain in place.

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