Updated directions affecting work from Chambers


With the extension of the current lockdown for a further week, we provide this update to assist members to manage their work over the next week in compliance with the Chief Health Officer’s directions.

The relevant directions currently in force are the:

  • Stay at Home Directions (Victoria) (No 3)
  • Workplace Directions (No 38)

As explained in previous updates, it appears that each barrister, being a self-employed person who controls their own chambers, is both an ‘employer’ and an ‘employee’ within the definitions of the Workplace Directions.


Attending chambers

Pursuant to cl 8 of the Stay at Home Directions, you may leave home to attend chambers only if:

  • It is not reasonably practicable to work from your ordinary residence; and
  • You are an authorised worker.

The list of authorised workers can be found here.

The list of authorised workers currently includes any person who performs work that is essential for the continued operation of:

  • A court, tribunal or commission
  • Services related to the administration of justice, including the operation of courts in regional Victoria
  • Essential legal services that are not able to be provided electronically, including urgent legal matters such as executing a will in-person

The restriction on travel beyond 5km applies only to exercise and obtaining necessary goods and services.  It does not apply to travel to work.


Face coverings

You must carry a face covering at all times.

You must wear a face covering when you leave home.  However, the face mask need not be worn when:

  • You are working by yourself in an enclosed indoor space, unless and until another person enters that space.
  • When clear enunciation or visibility of mouth is essential for your work.

Please ensure that wear your face covering when in the shared spaces in chambers.

For a full list of when face coverings need not be worn, see cl 5(16) of the Stay at Home Directions.


COVIDSafe plans, record keeping and QR codes

We remind members that each barrister must complete a COVIDSafe plan for their own chambers.  A template can be found here.

We remind members of the obligation to keep records of visitors to chambers.  The visitor’s first name, surname, phone number and the date and time they attended must be recorded.

Pursuant to cl 6(7) of the Workplace Directions, it is now mandatory for the Victorian Government QR code system to be used.  If you invite visitors into your individual chambers, you should register to use the QR code system here


Density quotients

The Workplace Directions currently limit density in an indoor space to 1 person per 4 square metres (see cl 6(18)).

Please respect these requirements when using the shared meeting rooms and other facilities.


Accessing childcare whilst at work

The Stay At Home Directions permit you to take your child to a childcare or early childhood service (see cl 7(1)(d)(iv)).

If you are permitted to attend work, the Stay at Home directions also permit you to take a child to another person’s premises for child-minding assistance so that you can attend work (see cl 7(1)(d)(iii)). 

It is also permitted for a person to leave their own home and enter another premises to provide child-minding assistance (see cl 7(1)(n) and 11(1).


Familiarising yourself with the directions

This information is provided for your assistance, but of course the application of the relevant directions to each particular circumstance is a matter of legal interpretation.  Each barrister is responsible for reading them and forming their own conclusions about their obligations as a self-employed person.

The information given above is designed to assist you to navigate the directions but is not a comprehensive list of all your obligations.

You can find the full text of the directions at here.

Each member is encouraged to read the full text of the directions and ensure that they comply with them.

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