Law Council wants electronic documents to stay post-COVID-19

The organisation has called for greater consistency in processes across the country

Law Council wants electronic documents to stay post-COVID-19

The Law Council of Australia has expressed its view that electronic documents should be retained post-COVID-19.

While the organisation praised how electronic document processes have been adopted during the pandemic, the Law Council said it has observed how “the potential for inconsistency between jurisdictions has created uncertainty.”

Law Council President Pauline Wright told the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology in July that supports for maintenance of these processes in the medium and long term should be considered.

“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the economic and financial environment in Australia and has significantly affected the fintech, regtech and legaltech sectors,” Wright said.

Among the Law Council’s suggestions is that the select committee consider standardising the process for requirements such as e-signatures where appropriate.

“Improving the ability to undertake the witnessing and signing of crucial documents, as well as filing or registering documents with governmental and regulatory agencies electronically, should be priority of any reform process,” Wright said.

This would aid in limiting confusion across the various states and territories in the country.

Wright also voiced the organisation’s recommendations to aid companies in conducting virtual meetings under the current economic climate.

“We also suggest that the temporary provisions for the virtual running of company meetings, such as AGMs, under the Corporations Act, has clear benefits for the corporate sector and investors in times when the economy is under stress,” she said.

The Law Council is seeking to keep these changes in place even after the pandemic has passed, “with the necessary safeguards in place,” Wright said.

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