Philippines Authorises Video Notarization in Quarantined Areas

The Philippines Supreme Court has released updated rules that allow video conferencing software to be used for the notarization of documents in areas under quarantine due to public health concerns.  The authorisation is contained in A.M. No. 20-07-04-SC, otherwise known as the 2020 Interim Rules on Remote Notarization of Paper Documents.

The Rules shall be limited to the notarization of paper documents and instruments with handwritten signatures or marks through the use of videoconferencing facilities. However, they shall not apply to the execution of notarial wills.

Read more about the changes or view the updated rules.

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Law Society of Scotland COVID-19 impact surveys and COP26 working group

COVID-19 impact

In April/May 2020 the Law Society of Scotland undertook a telephone survey with private practice firms to understand the financial impact the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent restrictions were having on the sector.  90% of firms surveyed reported a downturn in new business, with the majority also reporting reduced turnover and cashflow.

Read analysis of the survey (PDF).

Subsequently, the Law Society of Scotland ran a similar version of the survey with Heads of Legal Services/General Counsel in the in-house sector and also conducted an online survey with the wider in-house legal community.

Read the preliminary analysis of the in-house Heads of Legal survey results. (PDF)

Read the analysis of the online survey of in-house practitioners. (PDF)

COP26

The Law Society has also announced the creation of a new working group for COP26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to be held in Glasgow from 1- 21 November 2021).  The UK is hosting the main event with Italy hosting the preliminary meetings. COP26 is described as the largest summit ever to be held by the UK.  The Group is exploring and considering how the Society can best promote and support the members’ interests in COP26 and with the wider climate change agenda. 

Find out more.

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Law Society of Saskatchewan podcast on the future of legal education with Dr. Kara Mitchelmore

The Law Society of Saskatchewan has released a new episode of its Legal Skies podcast, outlining the ongoing changes to legal education in Canada, as well as the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had and will have on education and training. The podcast features Dr. Kara Mitchelmore of the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED), and features  discussion about the new practice readiness education programme, as well as ongoing issues around remote learning and assessment.

Listen to the podcast.

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Canadian Bar Association survey on COVID-19 and young lawyers

The Candian Bar Association has launched a survey to gather information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young lawyers and students. Anecdotal evidence gathered by the association has suggested that early-career lawyers have been disproportionately adversely affected by the pandemic, finding it difficult to get work experience, find first jobs or articling positions. Many have also raised the issue that they are losing access to valuable learning opportunities through remote working.

The survey has been set up to gather further data around the issue, to allow the association to begin to address the issue.

View the Bar associations comments about the survey.

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Regulatory Suspensions in Times of Crisis: The Challenges of Covid-19 and Thoughts for the Future

Abstract

The Covid-19 crisis in 2020 severely impacted the corporate and in turn, the financial sectors of the UK, entailing responses from financial regulators to implement unprecedented regulatory suspensions that affect both the financial sector and the real economy. We argue that regulatory suspensions are a unique crisis management tool and give rise to certain concerns and implications. We offer two case studies in regulatory suspension that show how inherently flexible laws and regulations became an anchor for unexpected suspensions or adjustments in other regulatory provisions and laws. These create implications for rebalancing of regulatory objectives and distributive effects and also for incentivizing certain behaviours amongst affected constituents. These institutional implications may be temporary or have a longer-term effect, and we argue that there is a need for a robust and rational regulatory decision-making framework in relation to regulatory suspensions, as part of crisis management. We sketch the contours of such a framework which includes rational balancing of the cost and benefits of regulatory objective trade-offs, distributive effects and institutional implications. We advocate a broad and deep ‘humanizing’ approach to balancing cost and benefit in regulatory suspensions, drawing upon Sunstein’s work. We also advocate a coordinated and inclusive procedural approach to crisis management, including regulatory suspension decisions, that would enhance regulators’ preparedness and intuitive skill in this area.

Citation
Chiu, Iris H-Y and Kokkinis, Andreas and Miglionico, Andrea, Regulatory Suspensions in Times of Crisis: The Challenges of Covid-19 and Thoughts for the Future (May 19, 2020). European Corporate Governance Institute – Law Working Paper No. 517/2020.

Available from the SSRN site.

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Law Society of Hong Kong launches law tech fund

In light of the ongoing uncertainty and the potential for change in how court hearings may be undertaken in the future, the Law Society of Hong Kong has lobbied for assistance to be provided to practitioners who may not have access to the technological tools required to conduct remote hearings or transactions.

On 8 April, the Government announced the proposed establishment of a LAWTECH Fund (“LTF”). On 18 April, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved reserving HK$35 million for the LTF to assist law firms and barristers’ chambers with five or fewer practising lawyers to procure or upgrade their information technology systems and arrange relevant lawtech training for their staff.

See the full information on the fund.

Read more about the webinars.

 

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IBA launches global survey on the impact of COVID-19

The International Bar Association (IBA) has launched a global survey to look at the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on members’ interests.

The survey will collect information on:

  • the impact of Covid-19 on bar associations’ and law societies’ day-to-day operations, finances and staff;
  • the impact measures taken to tackle the virus have had on local justice systems, court proceedings, key work undertaken by lawyers and legal representation for prisoners; and
  • members’ COVID-19-related activity in the wider community, including access to justice initiatives, undertaken, and pro bono work.

IBA BIC Chair Péter Köves and Vice Chair Kimitoshi Yabuki have said that the survey will provide: “a snapshot of how Covid-19 has affected our members, including the impact on their operations, finances and administration of justice in their jurisdictions more broadly. This information will in turn allow us to coordinate our longer-term responses to the crisis more effectively and better understand the help you need both now and in the future.”

More details on the IBA survey.

Access and complete the IBA survey.

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Law Society of New South Wales launches online program for future lawyers

The Law Society of New South Wales has launched an online mentoring program for over 650 high school students across the state in the wake of ongoing social distancing requirements. The Future Lawyers programme is running over 6 weeks with different topics and lectures being given to students on topics such as an Introduction to Australian Legal Systems, Advocacy, Law Reform, Policy and Ethics, as well as a mock trial. The classes are delivered by practising solicitors, giving students a chance to interact with those in practice gaining first-hand knowledge about the sector.

President of the Law Society of NSW, Richard Harvey, said: “The Future Lawyers Programme provides the year 10 and 11 students with an opportunity to learn from experienced and knowledgeable solicitors within the comfort of their own home. When it became clear that Law Society’s face-to-face Mock Law Programmes would be impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions we moved quickly to create a new online format for high school students. During these uncertain times, it is important to ensure we adapt to our current environment and create new opportunities for students considering a career in the law.”

See the full details of the programme.

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Washington Supreme Court grants bar exam exemption

On the 12th of June the Washington Supreme Court issued an order allowing graduates, currently registered to take the July or September UBE in Washington, with a J.D. from an ABA accredited law school, to be admitted to the Washington State Bar Association and practice law in the state without taking the bar exam.
The court has said that the order is in recognition of “the exponential impact of the crisis caused by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and the resulting unrest and social action and activism that have affected this set of graduates and applicants, particularly those of color, on top of the already stressful conditions caused by the pandemic and its fallout.”
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Two COVID-19 Lessons that Were Long Overdue to Kenya’s Justice Sector

Abstract

The two decisions made by policymakers in Kenya’s because of COVID-19 were timely but were bound to happen. they are direct economic benefits for reducing the prison population and use of technology in courts. If the Prison population is reduced at least by 10%, the prison population will reduce by 22,372 prisoners. Using the GDP Per Capita as of 2018, we estimate that income gained would be equivalent to Ksh 4.3 billion whereas a 30% prison population reduction would be 67,115 prisoners and equivalent to Ksh 12.9 billion. The mechanism of technology must allow for more accountability.

Citation
Kemboi, Leo Kipkogei, Two COVID-19 Lessons that Were Long Overdue to Kenya’s Justice Sector (June 12, 2020).

Available from the SSRN site.

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