From 30 April, 2022 certain temporary remote witnessing measures under the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Documents and Oaths) Regulation 2020 (QLD) which allowed parties to make and sign legal documents remotely using digital technology will become permanent. This continues a trend that has seen many COVID-related changes being permanently retained.
- statutory declarations,
- general powers of attorney for businesses,
- deeds, and
- mortgages over an electronic lodgement network.
These documents can all be made remotely, via an audio-visual link, and signed and witnessed electronically.
Nurse practitioners, in addition to doctors, can continue to certify that a person has the capacity to make an advance health directive.
These changes do not limit the ability to make, sign and witness these documents on paper and in person, with respect to which the usual legislative requirements continue to apply.
All relevant By Lawyers guides and precedents have been updated where necessary to reflect these newly permanent arrangements.
However, not all temporary COVID arrangements for remote witnessing have been entrenched permanently. The temporary laws allowing wills, enduring powers of attorney, and advance health directives to be witnessed over video conference expired on 1 July 2021. This means that these instruments must again be signed and witnessed in person. Similarly, unless given by an individual as part of a commercial transaction, a general power of attorney for an individual must be a physical document that is signed in the presence of a witness.