Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that by March we would all be in lock down, staying and working from home. These really are unprecedented times and I’m sure we all feel like we are in a science fiction movie. But at least we are not alone. We are all in this together and we have technology.

How do the Covid-19 restrictions affect our legal services?

Our Neville Street office is closed and we are all working from home. Our software is on the cloud so we can continue to access our data and the programmes we need. Most of our deeds have been scanned and are accessible to all staff.

Some of our services are considered to be “essential services” as they relate to the delivery of justice and vulnerable people. These include applications under the Domestic Violence Act and an application for manager or guardian where a person is mentally incapable.

Our trust account continues to operate normally.

We are getting regular updates from the Law Society and Chief Justice. Although we can continue to operate, our legal services are part of a chain and not all parts are able to continue.

Key areas that have been affected are:

– Property settlements. Moving house is not considered essential – so property settlements need to be delayed.

– The courts are operating at 17% capacity. They are only dealing with urgent applications that can be emailed to them and either deal with a person’s liberty or safety. Existing court cases are either being dealt with via telephone/audio visual link or have been adjourned (postponed to another date). For more info on how the courts are operating visit https://courtsofnz.govt.nz/publications/announcements/covid-19-coronavirus/court-protocols/

We will continue to work on your instructions and are more than happy to receive new instructions.

Many documents can be signed, scanned and returned. We don’t need to hold the original document. Documents can also be signed in counterparts – where different versions of the agreement are signed and then put together to form one agreement.

We are mindful that not everyone has the resources to respond via email or scan documents. We will find a way to work with you.

We are trying to work with the least disruption but please be patient as we get used to the new normal and as we know technology doesn’t always behave.

Keep safe and stay home.