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COVID-19: Keeping you informed

We are all experiencing the impact of COVID-19, on our businesses and on our lives. There is no rule book for what we are facing. And there is information overload. This page is a simple summary of all we think you need to know so you can keep on top of the changes as well as the impact of those changes to your usual operations.

We also want to share with you some of the things we are doing to keep our people feeling connected and focused on their wellbeing. These things might help you, too.

Courts and tribunals

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The way we do business is changing daily, including how we deal with courts and tribunals and other related services. Keeping up is a challenge. Most courts and tribunals implemented online and electronic alternatives to in-person attendance, and adopted new procedures for executing, witnessing and filing documents. Many matters have been adjourned and there have been more decisions “on the papers”.

To help you understand the procedures of each of our courts and tribunals nationally, we’ve put together this simple table. This information is updated weekly. If you need more current information, check the COVID-19 info pages for the relevant court using the links below.

Expert Witnesses

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How expert witnesses are dealt with in the current environment will depend on the court or tribunal in question. There are even variations within the same court as between lists.

Many of the courts are receiving expert testimony by phone or videoconference. The court is allowing the relevant expert to dial in from their “home” location. The message from the courts is that the expert witness does not need to be physically in the room with counsel.

Our experts can help you work through any requirements you have around the management of expert witnesses.

Expert Reports and Consultations with Medical Professionals (including medicolegal examinations)

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The advice around obtaining expert reports and consultations with medical professionals is more complex.

Social distancing guidelines are being observed throughout the community. What this means is that medical professionals are using their own discretion or taking direction from their professional bodies, for guidance on patient visits and priorities.  Many medical professionals are now only seeing urgent or essential patients, while others seem to be prepared to deal with full waiting rooms.

In the circumstances, where a matter is urgent and the assessment is either cancelled or rescheduled, file and/or forensic reviews of the documentation can still be undertaken. We are also hearing that in some cases, medicolegal appointments are being trialled by video link.

This, of course, also intersects with various States and Territories restrictions on ‘essential travel’. While medical appointments are an exception to the restrictions, it is hard to know whether appointments for assessment of injuries will be prioritised and for how long.

Our experts can help you work through any requirements you have around the management of expert reports as well as consultations with medical professionals.

Wellbeing for everyone

We know that everyone is feeling uncertain and wondering what could possibly happen next – and how will that affect me, my family, my friends and the community around me.

And with working from home becoming the new norm, we know that on top of everything else, we all have to deal with a new way of working, connecting and communicating.

As Michelle Obama put it, “We just don’t have a roadmap for what we are currently experiencing – that in and of itself can bring up feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and fear.”

So, we’ve put together some materials, information and suggestions to help you get through these times and do more than survive – but thrive!

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Hearty, tasty and (mostly) healthy Winter warmers With winter almost upon us, we are all thinking about comfort food to keep us warm and nourished.  Here’s our Top 10 picks of hearty, tasty and (mostly) healthy savoury dishes as well as our Top 10 comfort desserts for those with a sweet tooth. Click here for the links to the recipes – mushroom lasagne, chicken noodle soup, Moroccan chicken pies, Thai prawn green curry, mini fish pies, beef & beer & bacon spaghetti, plum baked custard, deep dish apple pie, lemon delicious crumble  and more!

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Great escapes when you can’t leave your lounge room – So, it sounds like physical international travel might be off the agenda for some time yet. But there is nothing to stop you from coming up with your ultimate isolation itinerary or doing some actual planning for when you can head on out into the real world again.  Click here and check out great travel inspired movies, books, podcasts, TV shows and audio books. Happy virtual travels and remember, dreaming is free!

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Guides and webinars to managing the stress and anxieties created by coronavirus – We all need to look after our mental health in these times. Here’s some links to helpful information and websites, guides and webinars. Click here to see a selection of useful materials. 

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Wellness and mindfulness podcasts – Thinking about wellness and practising mindfulness can be a big help in calming the mind, body and spirit in these stressful times. Everyone is different but click here to see some suggestions that you might enjoy. 

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Reading a book can help – Here’s some of the best sellers at the moment, fiction and non-fiction. And just to be a little bit dreamy for the good times to come, some travel guides! Reading can help take you away to another world so, when you can’t do that physically, why not do it through words! Click here to see a list of some of our favourites at the moment. 

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Music makes the world go around – Music is good for the soul! How about some suggestions to add to your Spotify account?  Click here. Apologies in advance for the “cheese” – all coronavirus inspired of course! 

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Things to help keep your sanity if you have children at home with you – What about some of these sites for great activities to help keep your little ones busy … for 5 minutes at least. Some of these are so much fun, you might even want to do them yourself even if you don’t have kids! Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone … 

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Are you keeping up with your exercises? – Don’t be tied to your desk all day. Click here for some moves to help you keep active. Even better, no one is going to see you if you look just a little bit weird doing them! 

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Delicious recipe ideas – Plenty of you are thinking about food – staying well and eating nutritious food is super important. You’re also probably thinking about how to make dishes that stretch the ingredients that you do have that little bit further.  Here’s some articles that will give you … food for thought. 

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Boost your brain with online learning and quick quizzes - Now might be the perfect time to do those things that you have always thought you might like to do but haven’t had the time to do.  Learn a language, get into gardening, take up an instrument or up your general knowledge. What are you waiting for? Click here and start boosting your brain today! 

Sparke Helmore Podcasts

Icon - PodcastClick here to access the latest Sparke Helmore podcasts.

 

How Sparke Helmore is responding

Sparke Helmore is working hard to support the efforts of the authorities to manage the impact of the coronavirus. We continue to monitor developments and put in place measures to keep our people safe and ensure ongoing business continuity, service, and support for our valued clients. 

We are confident the measures we have put in place will enable our people to continue to safely deliver the service that our clients are accustomed to.

We are aware that many of our clients are also facing challenges in the current environment. We are ready and able to assist and work through those challenges.  

Thank you to all our clients for their continued and valued support during these difficult times.