Coronavirus and the law

Changes are being made to the law and legal services during these difficult times.

We are continuing to provide legal services and help those in need.

If you need legal help, please call our Legal Advice Line on 1300 366 611.

The following are some links providing legal information to people affected by the effects of COVID-19.

For general updates see the Tasmanian Government Coronavirus Website.

A staged approach to the lifting of restrictions has been planned to guide Tasmania back in a way that will continue to reduce the risk to the community of COVID-19

Attending court

If you are required to attend court it is best to contact your lawyer or the court directly. The Magistrates Court have given information on how it is going to operate. The Supreme Court  is still conducting as much business as possible and has a range of measures in place to ensure community safety.

Information is available if you have a matter in the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court.

Emergency orders and police powers

Police officers can now give infringement notices to people for not following restrictions. We explain this in our Emergency orders and police powers COVID-19 Factsheet.

Parenting Orders and COVID-19

The Chief Justice of the Family Court has made an important statement to help parents.

The Family Court is also providing updates to help parents.

Ten tips for separated parents during COVID-19 has been prepared by the Law Council of Australia.

The well-being of your elder family members

During the coronavirus crisis, some seniors may be at heightened risk of elder abuse. Our Senior Assist programs remains open and we will continue to provide a service to seniors during this time.

If a person is at immediate danger or risk of significant harm, they should be advised to call police on 000.

The Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline provides advice and information on 1800 44 11 69.

If you would like to make a referral to Senior Assist you can reach us:

Questions about Wills

If you are considering making or updating your Will, we have prepared some tips to assist you making a Will.

Questions about the requirement to self-isolate

Changes to law including giving police the power to arrest someone for not following requirements to self-isolate.

Up to date information about the need keep yourself and others safe through self-isolation.

Questions about human rights

When emergency orders include requirements to do such things as wear a face mask (as is currently in place in Victoria), these requirements are legal and are not an infringement on an individual’s human rights.

No-one has a human right to infect other people and place the wider community at risk.

Australia is a signatory to a several conventions that impose broad obligations around human rights and anti-discrimination. But they do not give anyone the right to refuse to wear a mask when the emergency orders require a face mask to be worn in public.

No-one is allowed to discriminate against a person on the basis of their race, on the basis of their age, on the basis of their gender, or on the basis of their sexuality. Equal Opportunity Tasmania have more information related to COVID-19 and discrimination.

Support for renters

Changes to the law effecting residential tenancies are being introduced to ensure renters are supported.

Support for people with a mortgage

All banks and mortgage lenders have hardship teams ready to help people in tough times. Some banks are offering six-month repayment deferrals on mortgages for customers impacted by coronavirus.

For the latest see Money Smart:  Problem paying your mortgage

Paying bills or fines

If you can't pay your electricity, gas, phone or water bill, contact your service provider straight away. They will explain your options, such as:

  • an extension to pay;
  • paying in instalments;
  • Centrelink deductions (Centrepay);
  • applying for a utility rebate or voucher by contacting Department of Communities Tasmania on 1300 135 513.

Further updates from Money Smart: Problems paying your bills and fines

Changes in employment

Information about the changes in employment due to current business restrictions are being provided by State Government and Job Watch.

Accessing your superannuation early

If you are thinking about accessing some of your superannuation early refer to important information from MoneySmart.

Support for small business owners

Information is available to support small business owners on their role and responsibilities to staff and customers, in helping to stop the outbreak in Tasmania, as well as what support may be available. If you are a Tasmanian business and would like to discuss any impact you are experiencing, please contact a member of the Business Tasmania team on 1800 440 026.

Updated information is available at Business Tasmania: COVID-19: information for businesses

Changes to bankruptcy

The Australian Government made changes to the Bankruptcy law as part of the economic response to the Coronavirus. These temporary changes will be in place for six months from 25 March 2020.

For more information go to Changes to the bankruptcy law

Last updated: 21/09/2020