COVID-19 – Electronic witnessing of documents

On 22 April 2020, the New South Wales government introduced the Electronic Transactions Amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020 which amended the Electronic Transactions Regulation 2017 by allowing documents such as wills, power of attorney and enduring guardianship (and others) to be witnessed over ‘audio visual link’ (ie, video conference). The government introduced these measures to address the logistical problems and the need for witnessing documents while people are practising social distancing, quarantine or isolation during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Although this amended legislation now allows for these documents (and others) to be ‘legally witnessed’ by video conference, we have also developed a policy and a number of procedural requirements to ensure that we can be accountable for the process as the witness. At the moment, we are only providing electronic witnessing for documents that we have prepared for our clients.