The NSW authorities will temporarily allow for Skype, FaceTime, Zoom and even WhatsApp to be applied for virtual witnessing of lawful documents while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Amendments to the state’s Digital Transactions Act by governor Margaret Beazley on Wednesday will allow for online video conferencing technological innovation to be applied to make sure witnessing continues.

The new regulation was designed probable by the omnibus COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Unexpected emergency Measures) Monthly bill passed past thirty day period.

Legal professional common Mark Speakman mentioned the modify will make sure important lawful transactions to go on to be signed all through the pandemic, with out the want for confront-to-confront contact.

“Thousands of lawful documents are executed each and every working day in the presence of a person or much more witnesses, but COVID-19 restrictions have designed it hard for quite a few people today to do so in human being,” he mentioned. 

“Our initial precedence is normally the safety and wellbeing of NSW residents, which is why we are modifying the way these documents can be witnessed while the pandemic endures.” 

Below the new regulation, a witness can use online video conferencing platforms to see a human being signing documents like wills, powers of attorney and statutory declarations in serious-time to validate legitimacy.

A witness will also be needed to indicator the document, or a copy of the document, that they have been witnessing to validate its validity.

Even so, while electronic procedures for witnessing are supported by means of online video conferencing, electronic signatures are not authorized when signing the document.

The authorities mentioned witness signing “could be completed on a tough copy that is scanned and sent to the witness or on an equivalent counterpart of the document the signatory signs”.

“Traditional procedures of signing and witnessing these documents remain valid while the regulation is in power,” it mentioned.

“The authorities will go on to seek the advice of with stakeholders about selections for making it possible for sure documents to be signed and executed electronically.”

The authorities has also expanded the categories of people today who are authorised to witness documents all through COVID-19 in line with federal legislation.

This has been completed in session with the Law Society of NSW, the NSW Bar Association, Justice of the Peace associations and other applicable skilled bodies.