As mentioned in my last article, the Family Courts are open, but a number of special measures are in place for how Court matters are running.
One issue that needed to be addressed was the requirement for Court documents to be signed.
The Court has issued a Direction that provides that documents such as an Affidavit or an Application for Consent Orders that are ordinarily required under the Family Law Rules to be signed may instead be signed ‘electronically’. This is done by the use of an “electronic signature” or by the person’s name being typed onto the document.
There is an additional hurdle when it comes to Affidavits – in that the person’s signature ordinarily needs to be witnessed by a qualified witness. This requirement has been waived – subject to the Court may ultimately require the person making the Affidavit to swear or affirm the contents to the Court by telephone or videoconference.
These are temporary measures in place in response to Covid19 – but it will be interesting to see if the need for an ‘original’ signature survives the pandemic.