Remote viewing of important legal documents such as wills, statutory declarations and affidavits via video will become a permanent feature of the New South Wales legal landscape.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said legislation to cement the temporary measures had been passed by both houses of the New South Wales Parliament.
“The government of New South Wales has introduced the Remote Witness Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep the cogs of commerce moving and allow people to manage their personal legal arrangements by completely safe, ”Mr. Speakman said.
“After a successful 18 month trial period, we are delighted to extend these effective and secure arrangements to make life easier for people in the future. “
The Bill of 2021 modifying electronic transactions (remote testimony) will permanently allow documents to be viewed in real time via an audiovisual link (AVL) when the legislation is approved. For a further 12 months, the list of persons who may witness NSW statutory statements will also be extended to the expanded list of witnesses permitted to do so under relevant Commonwealth law.
Mr Speakman said many people who have used remote testimony for personal, business and legal documents (such as powers of attorney, deeds and agreements) have found it convenient and effective, saving both time. and money.
“Protective measures are in place to deal with the risk of fraud. For example, the signing must be assisted in real time and the witness must be reasonably convinced that he is signing the same document or an exact copy. The witness must also approve the document stating that he has complied with these requirements and specify the method used to witness the signing, ”Mr. Speakman said.
“Maintaining these measures will benefit people living in rural, regional and remote areas. It will also improve access to justice for vulnerable members of the community, including the elderly, people with illnesses or people with disabilities. “
Remote witnessing offers greater choice and flexibility for individuals and businesses, but traditional methods of signing and witnessing documents will remain available.
People outside of NSW can also use the remote witnessing provisions for documents to be signed or governed by NSW law, which will contribute to the continued disruption of movement. physical effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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