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Coronavirus and the Courts

The coronavirus pandemic is having a substantial impact on courts all around Australia.

We have created this page to help courts, and court users, understand the different practices that have been put in place across the jurisdictions. This page is frequently updated to keep up with operational changes, however users are encouraged to visit each jurisdiction's websites for the most up to date information on their practices.

In addition, our other resource Coronavirus Jurisprudence tracks the developing impact on individual proceedings and the application of general principles, whether it be to bail, sentencing, the decision to grant a trial by judge alone, or otherwise.

Victoria 
Federal
New South Wales
Queensland 
South Australia
Western Australia 
Tasmania
ACT
Northern Territory

Victoria  

Supreme Court

annoucnment Latest announcement 

27 April 2022 - In-person hearings and transitional COVID measures

Key COVIDSafe measures:

  • Everyone attending the indoor public areas of the Court is asked to wear a mask. 
  • Physical distancing is maintained where possible, but conventional courtroom and jury room arrangements for jury trials are in place. 
  • All those attending Court are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.
  • Rapid antigen testing is part of the Court’s arrangements for in-person hearings. 
  • Close contacts attending Court are asked to undertake a rapid antigen test each morning before attending and confirm their negative result. 
  • The Court Registry and Probate Office encourage appointments for those needing to attend in person. 

3 March 2022 - Notice to the Profession

Key measures:

  • In the week commencing 7 March 2022, the Court will transition to more in-person hearings. 
  • In-person hearings will be the default position for all substantive hearings, including trials, pleas and sentences in the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, Common Law Division and Commercial Court.
  • Case management and other procedural hearings will proceed by remote or hybrid hearings. 
  • Costs Court and judicial mediations will continue as remote hearings. 
  • The option of remote appearances and hybrid hearings (some participants in court and some remote) will be retained to maintain flexibility for individuals and to support the continuing COVID-19 measure of ensuring anyone required to self-isolate, self-quarantine or with symptoms does not attend court buildings.

County Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

The Court has implemented various protocols that outline its requirements for COVID-19 vaccinations, rapid antigen tests and other health and safety measures. Key measures in these protocols are summarised below:

  • Vaccination and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Protocol (last updated 29 March 2022)
    • All court staff must be fully vaccinated in accordance with the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (General Workers) 2022 Order (No. 3) (‘Order’).
    • All legal practitioners attending onsite must be fully vaccinated in accordance with the Order.
    • Any legal practitioner who is not fully vaccinated must appear remotely via videolink or may appear in person subject to compliance with PPE directions and rapid antigen testing (RAT).
    • For criminal jury trials, parties must advise the Court in advance whether there are any participants attending onsite who are not fully vaccinated. 
    • All other court participants who attend onsite must be fully vaccinated. 
    • Accused persons who are unvaccinated may attend their trial in person. 
    • The Court will make arrangements for unvaccinated witnesses to give evidence remotely. 
       
  • Criminal Jury Trials – Rapid Testing Protocol (last updated 29 March 2022)
    • Testing is required for all trial participants on the first morning of the trial (or their first attendance) and on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and any day returning to Court after a non-sitting day) of attendance thereafter.
    • Juries Victoria will direct prospective jurors attending Court to participate in a jury pool to the dedicated juror testing site.
    • After the empanelment day, all jurors will then be tested every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, and any day returning to Court after a non-sitting day.
    • Practitioners will need to test on the day of first appearance, and thereafter every testing day (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) of their attendance at the trial.
    • Other trial participants attending at Melbourne (accused persons on bail, witnesses, support persons etc.) will undergo a RAT daily as a condition of entry.
    • All trial participants involved in circuit criminal jury trials will self-administer RATs on the first morning of the trial (or their first attendance) and on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and any day returning to Court after a non-sitting day).
       
  • Non-jury matters – Rapid Testing Protocol (last updated 29 March 2022) 
    • From 21 February 2022, onsite hearing of non-jury work will expand across all divisions, in Melbourne and on circuit. 
    • Matters listed for 1 day or less will, by default, be heard remotely.
    • Matters listed for 2 days or more can, by default, be heard with some onsite attendance (with only the minimum participants necessary attending).
    • Practitioners will need to test on the day of first appearance, and thereafter every testing day (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) of their attendance at the hearing.
    • For operational reasons, in Melbourne, all other hearing participants will need to be tested daily and this will be a condition of entry into the court building.
    • On circuit, all hearing participants are required to test on the first day of appearance, and thereafter every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before coming to court.
       
  • Civil Jury Trials – Rapid Testing Protocol (last updated 15 March 2022) 
    • Juries Victoria will direct prospective jurors attending Court to participate in a jury pool to the dedicated juror testing site.
    • After the empanelment day, all jurors will then be tested every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, and any day returning to Court after a non-sitting day.
    • Practitioners will need to test on the day of first appearance, and thereafter every testing day (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) of their attendance at the trial.
    • Other trial participants attending at Melbourne (parties, witnesses, support persons etc.) will undergo a RAT daily as a condition of entry. 
    • All trial participants involved in circuit civil jury trials will self-administer RATs on the first morning of the trial (or their first attendance) and on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday thereafter.

11 May 2022 – Common Law Division 

Key measures:

  • Filing – All documents should be electronically filed using the Court’s electronic filing facility, CITEC Confirm.
  • Where possible, all subpoenaed material should be submitted and inspected electronically. 
  • Directions hearings will continue to be conducted via videolink (Zoom) unless the presiding judicial officer requires onsite appearances. 
  • In-court hearings – the following proceedings in Melbourne can be heard in Court:
    • All matters involving contested oral evidence
    • All civil jury trials
    • Any trial where a party is self-represented
    • Where a party to the proceeding requires an interpreter to give evidence
    • Any trial or hearing where scarring is required to be inspected. 
  • Remote hearings – the following proceedings will continue to be heard as remote virtual hearings:
    • Directions hearings that do not involve contested oral evidence
    • Summonses that do not involve contested oral evidence
    • Mediations, judicial resolutions and case conferences
  • Melbourne jury trials – from 21 March 2022, the Court resumed jury trials in Melbourne. 
  • Circuits – from 26 April 2022, the Court resumes civil jury trials at circuit locations. 
    • The Civil Jury Trials - Rapid Testing Protocol applies to all civil jury trials in Melbourne and on circuit. 

29 March 2022 – Criminal Division 

Key measures:

  • Trial by judge alone – a party may apply to the Court for a judge alone trial at any time while a pandemic declaration is in force. 
  • ‘Pandemic declaration’ has the same meaning as in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
  • Applications will be heard and determined on the papers as much as possible. 
  • Melbourne criminal jury trials – the pre-COVID criminal jury trial process will be adopted in so far as possible with necessary COVID-safe overlays.
  • Legal practitioners, on behalf of each party, must advise the Court if they are aware any trial participant feels unwell or has symptoms of COVID-19, are awaiting test results or are required to isolate. 
  • Jurors must not attend court if they have symptoms of COVID-19, are awaiting test results or are required to isolate. 
  • Circuit criminal jury trials – the pre-COVID criminal jury trial process will be adopted in so far as possible with the necessary modifications and COVID-safe overlays.
  • Jury empanelments will be conducted semi-remotely via videolink between the jury pool room and the trial courtroom.
  • Other criminal matters – subject to the discretion of the presiding judicial officer, the following types of hearings will continue to be heard remotely (including remote appearance by legal practitioners, the accused, complainant or victim and witnesses):
    • All procedural and transactional hearings such as mentions, directions hearings and other List hearings
    • Matters listed for one day or less
    • County Koori Court sentencing conversations will continue with the remote/hybrid model.
  • Subject to the discretion of the presiding judicial officer, the following types of hearings may be heard in-person (including in-person attendance by legal practitioners and the accused):
    • Multi-day matters
    • Matters involving an accused moving from the community into custody
    • Complex matters of any length
    • CMIA or sexual offence case special hearings
    • Drug Court hearings

18 February 2022 – Commercial Division

Key measures from 21 February 2022:

  • The Court will permit a return to in-person hearings at the discretion of the presiding judicial officer as follows:
    • Trials listed for two or more days 
    • Directions hearings (including pre-trial directions hearings), applications (summonses and requests for interlocutory determination), trial assessments and enforcement proceedings will be held remotely
    • Judicial resolution conferences may be held in-person or remotely, to be determined by the presiding judicial officer on a case by case basis.  
  • If a party considers that it is appropriate and in the interests of justice for the matter to proceed in person, that party must give notice of that request to the Court and the other parties and must provide brief submissions detailing the reasons the matter is not suitable for remote hearing. 
  • Filing - Parties are requested to maximise the use of the Court’s electronic filing facilities.
  • Subpoenas – Where possible, all subpoenaed material should now be submitted and inspected electronically via eCase.
  • Practitioners should follow the PNCI 9-2021 eCase electronic subpoenas guidelines for managing subpoena requests in eCase.
  • Interlocutory disputes – the Court will determine whether the dispute can be listed for eHearing, or should be determined on the papers, and will notify the parties accordingly. 
  • Most disputes will be listed for eHearing, unless it is a dispute where reserved written reasons are likely to be required and the parties can be expected to deal with the issues in dispute in writing. 
  • Applications by summons – applications by summons will continue to be listed for eHearing, however the presiding judicial officer may give leave for an application to be heard in person in the following circumstances:
    • Where a party is self-represented and doesn’t have access to the necessary technology and internet access;
    • Where a party to the proceeding requires an interpreter to give evidence. 
  • Building Cases List – Applications will be conducted by eHearing or on the papers, as directed by the Judge in charge of the Building Case List in consultation with the parties. 
  • Judicial Resolution Conferences (JRCs) will be conducted remotely or in person at the discretion of the judicial officer conducting the JRC.
  • Non-binding Neutral Evaluations (NNEs) – parties with listed trials may be offered an NNE by eHearing in lieu of the trials. 
  • NNEs will be conducted by a judge or judicial registrar and typically will not require more than one day of eHearing. 
  • Pre-trial directions hearings – all proceedings will be listed for pre-trial directions hearing remotely via Zoom before a judicial registrar around two weeks before the listed trial date. 
  • Judgments will usually be delivered by email and published on AustLII. 
  • Where judgment is to be delivered by eHearing or at an in-person hearing, the associate will contact the parties and arrange an eHearing or hearing for the delivery of the judgment. 

County Koori Court

  • Hearings will occur under two different settings. 
  • Setting 1 - Plea hearings are conducted with in person appearances.
  • Setting 2 - Plea hearings are conducted with remote appearances via WebEx. 
  • From 17 May 2021, setting 1 will apply in Melbourne and setting 2 will apply to all regional matters. 

Magistrates’ Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

24 February 2022 – COVID Recovery – Practice Direction 3 of 2022

All Magistrates’ Court venues across the state will remain open, but attendance is subject to this Practice Direction.

Key measures from 7 March 2022:

  • All persons who attend court venues must wear a mask unless they are exempt, comply with social distancing, and follow any directions under the Court Security Act 1980.

Criminal matters

  • Represented accused may appear in person at court or via WebEx. It is the practitioner’s responsibility to make all necessary arrangements for themselves and their clients to appear via WebEx.
  • Unrepresented accused to appear in person unless they made all necessary arrangements for the matter to be heard via WebEx.
  • Accused are to be transported to the closest court venue for first remand hearings. 
  • All bail applications which are not first remand hearings will be listed via WebEx.
  • Second or subsequent hearings where an accused is in custody will proceed via WebEx. 
  • All mentions, custody matters except first remand hearings and matters in the Judicial Registrar lists will proceed via WebEx. 

Drug Court, Assessment and Referral Court (ARC), Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC), and Court Integrated Services Program (CISP), Koori Court

  • Drug Court and ARC participants may appear physically or via WebEx at each court review, as directed by the Court. 
  • NJC client services may be in person or remote via audio visual link or telephone, as directed by the Court. 
  • Koori court hearings may be in person or via WebEx, as directed by the Court. 

Family Violence (FV)

  • From 7 March 2022, all FV matters will proceed via WebEx unless otherwise directed by the Court. 
  • From 21 March 2022, all FV matters will be heard in person with the respondent attending physically. An affected family member may attend via WebEx where they express a preference to do so. 

Victoria Police (VPOL) applications for family violence intervention orders (FVIO) and family violence safety notices (FVSN)

  • From 7 March 2022, affected family members who agree with the application made by VPOL do not need to appear at the hearing. If they do not agree, they should appear remotely. 
  • From 21 March 2022, VPOL applications will be heard in person unless a party has confirmed with the Court to proceed via WebEx. 
  • All respondents must attend court physically unless otherwise directed by the Court. 

Personal Safety Intervention Orders (PSIO)

  • From 7 March 2022, PSIO applications will proceed via WebEx unless otherwise directed by the Court. 
  • From 21 March 2022, Protected Persons in VPOL applications are not required to attend court physically. Applicants in PSIO matters where VPOL is not the applicant must appear physically.
  • All respondents must attend physically at court. 

Civil matters

  • Civil hearings will be conducted remotely via WebEx unless alternative arrangements have been made.
  • Summons for oral examination will be conducted in person at a court venue unless alternative arrangements have been made.

WorkCover and Industrial Division

  • WorkCover and Industrial Division hearings will be conducted remotely via WebEx, unless otherwise directed by the Court. 

Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT)

  • VOCAT will hear applications on the papers, via WebEx, via telephone or in person, as directed by the Tribunal.

VCAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The majority of VCAT hearings are conducted remotely via phone, teleconference or online platform.
  • VCAT will contact parties to advise whether a hearing will be conducted by phone or videoconference.
  • In some circumstances, VCAT may allow in person hearings. VCAT will advise the parties if the hearing will be in person. 

Children’s Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The Online Children’s Court (the OCC) will hear matters across all Divisions of the Court
  • Only the following people are permitted to physically attend the Children’s Court, anyone who is:
    • in immediate need of the face to face services of the registry;
    • admitted by direction of a registrar or a judicial officer of the Court;
    • a party to a proceeding;
    • a legal representative of a party to a proceeding;
    • a support person for a party to a proceeding (one support person per party); or
    • a representative of the media
  • The Court has issued Practice Directions No. 1 – 3 of 2022 in relation to the operations of each of its divisions, as summarised below. 

Family Division

21 March 2022 – Practice Direction No. 2 of 2022 applies to Family Division child protection proceedings. Key measures include:

  • Unless otherwise directed by the Court, the following hearing types will be listed in the Online Children’s Court (OCC) at Melbourne and Moorabbin:
    • Mentions
    • Reserved submissions
    • Conciliation conferences and post conciliation mentions
    • Readiness hearings 
    • Special mentions
    • Release of Children’s Court Clinic Report(s)
    • Applications for the release of subpoenaed material
    • Directions hearings.
  • Unless otherwise directed by the Court, the following hearing types will be listed at Court and require physical attendance by the legal representatives and parties:
    • Protection Application by Emergency Care
    • Breach by Emergency Care
    • Application for a new Interim Accommodation Order due to a proposed placement change
    • Application for an urgent interim variation of a Family Reunification Order
    • Interim Accommodation Order Contested Hearings
    • Final Hearings
  • At all remaining Court locations, hearings will be listed in accordance with local directions (other than Conciliation Conferences, which will be held online state-wide). 

Criminal Division

21 March 2022 – Practice Direction No. 1 of 2022 applies to all Criminal Division proceedings other than CAYPINS matters. Key measures include:

  • Where a child is represented, the legal practitioner may arrange with the Court for the matter to be listed for hearing in the OCC. 
  • A child who is in custody is required to be brought physically before the Court, unless otherwise directed. 
  • After the first remand hearing date all bail applications, unless otherwise ordered, should be listed in the OCC, with the accused appearing via audio visual link from a youth justice facility.
  • Any application for a variation of bail conditions may be heard at Court.
  • Bail variation hearings and diversion hearings may be heard ‘on the papers’.
  • The Children’s Court Clinic will conduct assessments either in person, remotely by Telehealth or by other non-contact means, as appropriate.
  • All matters filed at the Court at Melbourne where the child is remanded in custody will be listed in the Remand Court.

Intervention Orders

21 March 2022 – Practice Direction No. 3 of 2022 applies to all intervention order applications. Key measures include:

  • Applicants who wish to apply for an intervention order should complete the relevant application form on the Children’s Court website. If an applicant cannot complete an application online, they may attend in person and will be assisted by a court staff member.
  • The OCC may be used for hearing cases. 
  • Unless otherwise directed by the Court, applications for urgent interim intervention orders will be heard in the OCC or on the papers when supported by affidavit.
  • Other than urgent interim intervention orders, applicants and respondents(s) in any application must physically attend court unless:
    • They are legally represented, and their legal practitioner has arranged for the matter to be listed in the OCC; or
    • The Court has otherwise directed.

Coroners Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • In Melbourne, urgent and priority matters not able to be held remotely will be held in person. 
  • Outside Melbourne, the Courts will continue to use a mixture of in-person and remote hearings. In person hearings that would require individuals to travel from Melbourne into the regions will only proceed in urgent and priority matters. 
  • Any in-person hearings must adhere to public health directions, including mask wearing. 
  • Media and the public: media and members of the public may continue to request to attend hearings remotely via technological means, and may also attend in person without seeking prior authorisation.

Federal 

High Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The High Court building in Canberra is open to the public during business hours.
  • The Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra Registry staff are currently working remotely. All enquiries should be made by email (not telephone).
  • Documents to be filed electronically using electronic filing facility. Documents may be faxed or emailed to relevant registry where electronic filing is unavailable.

Federal Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Special measures in Appeals and Full Court Hearings:
    • All matters and hearings to be conducted via telephone, AV link or on papers where appropriate
    • No in-person hearings, unless in exceptional circumstances
    • All Appeal Books, documents, List of Authorities and Legislation or additional material must be filed electronically
  • Special measures in relation to warrants for the arrest of ships available on Court website.
  • Registries are still working to provide services via telephone and online.
  • Documents to be filed electronically or via email. Those who do not have access to these methods to contact registry by telephone.
  • Court will allow electronic signing of documents.
  • Court will contact parties regarding newly filed judge matters.
  • Court will contact parties for listed matters to make arrangements to hear matters on papers, via telephone or AV link.
  • If alternative arrangements are not possible, matters may be vacated or adjourned.
  • For longer listings, practitioners and parties must work with the court to identify how and when listings may proceed.
  • Federal Court has commenced communicating with all parties with matters listed for hearing in the upcoming months.
  • Parties are requested to identify (with the assistance of the Court) opportunities for listings to proceed via telephone or other remote access technology.

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

annoucnmentLatest announcement

9 May 2022 – FCFCOA Special Measures Notice: COVID-19 Hearing Protocol

This protocol will apply to all hearings and other court events in the FCFCOA from 9 May 2022 in all states until further notice. Key measures include:

  • Attendance at Court – Court users should only attend a Court registry where a hearing or court event is to proceed in-person.
  • Vaccination status – all court users must be at least double-vaccinated before attending a Court registry, unless exceptional circumstances apply.
  • Documents to be tendered in an in-person hearing are to be provided electronically to the Court rather than in hardcopy. 
  • Do not attend Court if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are awaiting test results. 
  • Final hearings will be conducted in-person unless otherwise directed by the presiding Judge.
  • Interim or interlocutory hearings will be conducted in-person unless otherwise directed by the presiding Judge. 
  • A matter listed for interim hearing before a Senior Judicial Registrar will be conducted in-person where the presiding judicial officer considers it appropriate. 
  • All short hearings and procedural hearings will be heard electronically. 
  • Family law conciliation conferences and dispute resolution conferences will be conducted electronically unless the registrar considers the matter requires an in-person conference to be effective mediated. 
  • Court child expert events – interviews of adults and observations/interview of children may be conducted electronically. Decisions to conduct an in-person assessment with an adult and/or child will be made on a case-by-case basis.

1 September 2021 – Family Law Practice Direction – National COVID-19 List

This Practice Direction applies to urgent or priority family law applications which are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic made after 1 September 2021. 

  • An application must satisfy the following criteria to be considered for the National COVID-19 List:
    • The application has been filed as a direct result of, or in significant connection to, the COVID-19 pandemic
    • The matter is urgent or of a priority nature
    • The application is accompanied by a COVID-19 affidavit 
    • Reasonable but unsuccessful attempts have been made to resolve the issue
    • The matter can be dealt with electronically.
  • In triaging an application, the COVID-19 Judicial Registrars will consider whether the matter is suitable for an urgent electronic mediation or conciliation and may make orders to facilitate this. 
  • Applications accepted into the National COVID-19 List are at the discretion of the COVID-19 Judicial Registrar or Judge. 

AAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

  • All AAT registries are open to visitors. 
  • While all registries are open, to reduce the risks associated with COVID-19 you may prefer to contact the AAT online or by telephone. 
  • If you visit the registry, you will be required to comply with COVID-safe measures.
  • Most hearings and conferences are still being conducted remotely by video conference or telephone. In limited circumstances, in-person hearings may be arranged as required. 
  • In-person hearings will only proceed where all parties, representatives and other participants are willing to show evidence of vaccination.

New South Wales 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

2 May 2022 – the Court has issued the Supreme Court revised COVID Protocols and Protocol for Supreme Court Criminal Jury Trials, which will apply from 2 May 2022. Key measures include:

  • Live hearings – Unless notified in advance by the Court, the parties should assume that substantive hearings and contested matters including bail applications, contested motions and contested directions hearings before judges will proceed by way of live hearing with staggered listings as far as possible.
  • If any court participant has difficulty attending an in-person hearing for COVID or other health related reasons, they can make an application to the List Judge for the matter to proceed by telephone or audio-visual link. 
  • Online hearings – the following matters will proceed via AVL only until the Court announces otherwise:
    • Registrars’ Lists
    • Judges’ Lists for uncontested matters 
  • Vaccination – All persons attending in person must be double vaccinated or hold a valid medical exemption. 
  • Public and media – Courtrooms are open to media and the public subject to courtroom capacity and vaccination status. 
  • Registry – The public registry counter has reopened. Masks must be worn whilst attending the registry and in all public places.
  • Mediations – The Court will continue to offer both face to face mediations and virtual mediations using AVL. Parties’ requests (for either option) will be accommodated where appropriate. 
  • Trial ‘bubbles’ – The Court will establish a trial bubble for each criminal trial. Each person attending the trial in person must be double vaccinated, except the accused and any specifically authorised person. 
  • Jurors – The Office of the Sheriff will ensure all potential jurors are fully vaccinated and have completed rapid antigen screening before the empanelment process commences.
  • Rapid antigen testing (RAS) – All trial participants will complete RAS on the first day of the trial. Having established the trial bubble, all participants will complete RAS every two days. If there is a positive RAS result, the person will not be permitted to re-enter the trial bubble and will be advised to go home and isolate.

District Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

28 February 2022 – COVID-19 update

  • ​​​Jury trials and judge-alone trials will continue to proceed in accordance with District Court Criminal Practice Note 23. 
  • Media personnel will be allowed to attend in person from 28 February 2022.
  • Remote hearings – All District Court lists in both the criminal and civil jurisdictions are to continue to be conducted remotely until further notice. Judicial discretion may be exercised for court participants to appear in person.
  • Persons in custody, including offenders in sentence proceedings and appellants in Local Court appeals, may continue to appear remotely.
  • In person appearances are permitted in the following proceedings:
    • Criminal jurisdiction:
      • Sentencing proceedings
      • Appeals and bail applications
      • Trials and sentence hearings of WHS Prosecutions
    • Civil jurisdiction:
      • Civil hearings
      • Short matters
    • All hearings in the Dust Diseases Tribunal
  • Vaccination status and testing – There are no requirements for court participants attending in person to apply for leave to appear nor undergo rapid antigen screening prior to attending Court or disclose their vaccination status. 
  • The Court encourages court participants who are appearing in person, other than in jury trials and judge alone trials, to self-administer a rapid antigen test on the day they are to appear in Court and on every second day of attendance thereafter.

Resumption of Jury Trials and in person appearances in Judge Alone Trials, District Court Practice Note 23

Key measures from 21 October 2021: 

  • In person appearances will only be allowed for new jury trials from 25 October 2021.
  • Vaccination status and testing – all jurors are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and all court participants must undergo rapid antigen screening (RAS) every second day of the trial or as otherwise required.
  • Other matters – All other matters in the Court will continue to be conducted by use of the virtual courtroom, subject to any leave granted by application to the trial Judge in judge alone trials. 
  • To ensure the safe resumption of jury trials, the Court strongly encourages legal practitioners to be vaccinated. 
  • Disclosure of vaccination status – At the pre-trial callover, counsel for the Crown and counsel for the accused person must provide forms disclosing the vaccination status of counsel and instructing solicitors.
  • RAS testing – Counsel, solicitors and witnesses will be required to undergo RAS at least twice-weekly or as otherwise required by the Sheriff of NSW. 
  • At trial, face masks are mandatory for all participants except when addressing the Court. 
  • Members of the public and media may not attend court in person. If they wish to view a trial, attendance will be permitted by use of the virtual courtroom. 

Local Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement 

28 March 2022 – Chief Magistrates’ Memorandum No. 27B COVID-19

These directions commence on 28 March 2022. Key measures include:

  • Criminal and General Division defended hearings may proceed in person. All parties are to appear in person unless an application has been made for appearance by alternate means. 
  • Small claims hearings will continue via telephone or AVL unless otherwise ordered.
  • Sentence – where the defendant is in the community, defendants and their representatives must appear in-person for finalisation of a sentence. Where the defendant is in custody, the defendant will appear via AVL. 
  • Other matters – where ordered by the Court, defendants and their legal representatives may be required to appear in person. The Court expects that parties will only appear in person in limited circumstances. 
  • Committal proceedings may occur on the papers or by AVL or otherwise directed by the Court. 
  • Persons in custody – all applications by persons in custody and first appearances are to be conducted by AVL.
  • General – Where court users are unable to attend court for health reasons, the court may adjourn proceedings or use AVL to enable participation.

Children's Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement 

25 March 2022 – Public Notice of Response to COVID-19 Pandemic No.14

Key measures from 28 March 2022 include: 

  • In crime, parole, and AVO proceedings, parties are to appear in person in the following circumstances, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer:
    • Hearings 
    • Sentences
    • Replies to brief where a plea of guilty is to be entered and proceedings to be finalised
    • Applications for an order under the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020
    • AVO proceedings.
  • An accused detainee is to appear in person unless an exemption applies, the parties consent, or the court otherwise directs.
  • Defendants are otherwise excused from attendance if legally represented, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer.
  • Legal practitioners are to appear in person unless leave has been granted to appear by AVL. 
  • All care lists will continue to operate. Parties are to appear in person for hearings unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer.
  • Parties and their legal representatives may appear by AVL for directions lists where such facilities are available.
  • Education lists will continue to operate. Parties and their legal representatives are to appear in person unless leave is granted to appear by AVL.
  • Youth Koori Court – young people are to appear in person unless alternative arrangements are approved by the Court.
  • Where a party is concerned that a hearing delay is impacting the safety, wellbeing and welfare of a child, they should notify the Registrar and request the case by allocated a priority hearing date.
  • Dispute Resolution Conferences will be conducted by AVL across NSW unless otherwise determined by the Children’s Registrar conducting the conference.
  • Matters requiring the preparation of a Youth Justice Background Report should be adjourned for two weeks where a young person is in custody and for eight weeks where a young person is in the community. 

Coroners Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement 

9 May 2022 – State Coroner’s Memorandum No 6 

The following procedures will apply from 28 January 2022 to 7 May 2022:

  • Masks must be worn in the Forensic Medicine and Coroners Court Complex at Lidcombe and distancing density limits maintained.
  • All parties, legal representatives and family members may appear via AVL or audio link rather than in person, upon request.
  • These procedures will continue to be reviewed and modified if required.

NCAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

3 May 2022 – Changes to in-person hearings

  • At present there are generally no in-person hearings. Matters will proceed by audio visual link or telephone.
  • NCAT will resume some in-person hearings from July 2022. 
  • Do not attend NCAT registry if you do not need to. Applications can be lodged online or by post. 
  • NCAT’s phone line and online services remain operational during this time.

Queensland 

Queensland Courts ARE open and hearing cases.

  • On 21 February 2022, the Supreme and District Courts resumed jury trials, beginning with a limited number of trials of short duration.
  • Jurors need to be masked when not eating and drinking. Temperature checks will be conducted.
  • Any increase in the number of trials taking place will depend on the prevailing conditions and the effectiveness of the measures taken to ensure jury safety and confidence. 
  • In deciding whether to excuse a person from jury service, the Sheriff or a Judge will regard the person’s vaccination status and possible implications for jury safety and confidence. 

Supreme Court

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Civil matters

  • Civil trials will proceed, subject to the direction of the presiding judge.
  • Telephone or AV link will be used to make applications and call witnesses whenever possible.
  • Applications will be made on the papers where that is feasible.

Criminal matters

  • Only part-heard jury trials will proceed. 
  • Practitioners may apply for judge alone trials.
  • Sentence hearings will proceed by AV link where prisoners are remanded in custody and prisoners on bail will continue to be dealt with in person.

The Court of Appeal 

  • will continue hearing matters as usual until further notice.
  • Callovers will not take place until further notice but instead, the Registry will be in touch with parties about listings. 

Circuit courts in which a judge from one of the affected LGA’s is presiding will proceed, subject to the direction of the presiding judge. 

District Court

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Measures:

  • Do not attend court if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Court users must maintain safe distancing and wear masks inside court buildings.
  • Counter services have resumed at all registries in greater Brisbane.
  • The Court has implemented a number of measures to reduce the risk of jurors being exposed to COVID-19.
  • Presiding judge will determine if matters can be conducted via telephone or AV link.
  • Social distancing measures are in place for face-to-face hearings.

Land Court

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  • The Court will allow videoconference or teleconference for parties, representatives or witnesses who do not attend in person.
  • All court users are requested to check-in using the QR codes and to follow instructions on safe distancing when attending court buildings. 
  • All parties are requested to file documents by mail or email wherever possible.

Magistrates’ Court

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Measures:

  • Subject to orders of a Magistrate, all hearings will proceed as listed with appearances in-person by the parties. 
  • If a defendant is in custody, the sentence will proceed by videolink. 
  • Arrest Courts are open and subject to density limits. 
  • To assist in avoiding the spread of the COVID-19 virus, practitioners should endeavour to minimise the need for physical attendance in Courtrooms by minimising the number of people attending Court for any given matter, resolving issues and matters to the greatest extent possible and to reduce the time for which any presence in Court is required.
  • Within the Courthouse and Courtrooms, safe distances and occupant density limits in accordance with public health directions should be maintained.
  • Subject to any direction by the Magistrate, all persons in Court will be masked unless they are a witness, lawyer or a party making submissions at the bar table.
  • A Magistrate may also make directions about the number of persons being present in the Courtroom.
  • Legal practitioners are strongly encouraged to apply for an electronic adjournment using the online application for a Court Event form.
  • Court appearances by telephone or video link can be made with the leave of a Magistrate.
  • Those wishing to appear by telephone or video link should contact the local Courthouse for contact details.
     

Children’s Court

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  • In the interests of public health, it is important to reduce the number of children entering and leaving detention centres.
  • It is necessary to limit contact between the parties, the public, court officers and practitioners. 
  • All children required to appear that are in detention will appear by videolink. 
  • In mentions, reviews and bail applications, appearance should be by telephone. 

QCAT

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  • All applications and other documents to be filed electronically or by post unless it is not possible for the person to do so. 
  • All QCAT proceedings, where possible, will be heard remotely by teleconferencing or videoconferencing. 
  • Subject to the direction of the presiding judge or member, all persons on QCAT premises are not required to wear a face mask.
  • All persons on QCAT's premises are required to continue practising safe distancing.
  • It is no longer a requirement for members of the public attending QCAT's premises to check-in using the check-in app. 
  • The QCAT President has issued practice directions to outline arrangements for various matters until further notice. Key measures of each practice direction are summarised below.

Guardianship matters under QCAT Practice Direction No. 4 of 2022:

  • Applications and documents should be provided by remote means (email or post) wherever possible.
  • Emails/posted documents must contain sufficient information to identify the correct matter. 
  • Documents may only be filed in person if it is not possible for the party to file electronically or by post.
  • Hearings are dealt with by remote means (telephone or video conferencing) wherever possible, at the discretion of the Tribunal.
  • If a party intends to participate in a hearing, they must advise QCAT registry three business days before the hearing of their telephone number. Failure to provide a phone number may result in a matter being dealt with in the party’s absence. 
  • If a party seeks to appear in person at a hearing, that party must give written notice to QCAT registry three business days before the hearing. The notice must set out the grounds on which the party seeks to attend in person.
    • QCAT will then decide how the matter will proceed. 
    • Where QCAT permits a personal appearance, that person shall, before being admitted to the hearing room, provide their personal details and confirm that they do not have COVID-19 and are not a close contact of another person who has COVID-19.
  • From time to time, the Tribunal hears and determines matters ‘on the papers’, without an oral hearing. Where the Tribunal considers the matter might be dealt with on the papers, the Tribunal will advise the parties in writing.  

Proceedings other than minor civil disputes and guardianship matters under QCAT Practice Direction No. 3 of 2022:

  • Same arrangements as guardianship matters, with the addition the of the following:
    • Parties must provide all documents the party wishes to rely on at hearing to QCAT and the other party/parties to the proceeding no later than three business days before the hearing.
    • Parties sending documents by post should allow at least ten business days from the date of posting to seek to ensure the documents are received by the relevant registry and the other party/parties no later than three business days before the hearing.

Minor civil dispute matters under QCAT Practice Direction No. 2 of 2022:

  • Minor civil disputes include the following matters where the amount claimed is up to and including $25,000.
  • The same arrangements apply as for proceedings other than minor civil disputes and guardianship matters, with the addition of the following:
    • On the papers hearing – if a party objects to a matter proceeding on the papers (without an oral hearing), the party must notify QCAT registry and the other party/parties within five business days of receiving QCAT’s written communication of the grounds of objection. The Tribunal will determine and advise the parties how the matter is to proceed. 

Coroners Court

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Arrangements from 7 March 2022

  • Court hearings, including inquests, may be convened via digital and electronic means. 
  • Limits on the number of persons in a courtroom may be enforced. 
  • Legal representatives and witnesses may apply for leave to appear by telephone or video conference.
  • Families’ participation in hearings will be by telephone or video conference. 
  • Coroners Court offices remain open and each registry is contactable by telephone and email.
  • All other coronial investigative and administrative functions within the court are proceeding as normal.

South Australia 

Supreme Court

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Arrangements from 4 January 2022

  • Hearings in January will proceed in the ordinary way, save that the Court may contact practitioners to arrange an AVL or on the papers hearing and practitioners who wish to arrange an alternative hearing procedure should contact the chambers of the presiding judicial officer.
  • Attendance by AVL for prisoners in custody will be arranged where possible. 
  • Wherever practical, all documents should be presented for filing electronically in advance of the court hearing and in accordance with applicable Court Rules. 
  • Where it is not possible to send documents electronically, they can be posted. 

District Court

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Arrangements from 4 January 2022

  • Hearings in January will proceed in the ordinary way save that the Court may contact practitioners to arrange an AVL or on the papers hearing and practitioners who wish to arrange an alternative hearing procedure should contact the chambers of the presiding judicial officer.
  • Telephone or AV Link hearings can be arranged on request with at least 24 hours’ notice.
  • Settlement conferences will be held at Court but socially distanced.
  • No documents are to be handed up in Court and should be lodged via the Court portal prior to the hearing.
  • All criminal, civil and ERD Court matters will proceed as currently listed.

Environment, Resources and Development Court

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  • Hearings in January 2022 will proceed in the ordinary way, save that the Court may contact practitioners to arrange an AVL or on the papers hearing and practitioners who wish to arrange an alternative hearing procedure should contact the chambers of the presiding judicial officer.
  • Masks must be worn in all court buildings including courtrooms. 
  • Parties and practitioners are expected to observe social distancing requirements. 

Magistrates Court

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Arrangements from 21 March 2022

  • These restrictions will be reviewed in the week beginning 11 April 2022.

Attendance

  • Entry to court buildings will be restricted to court users and media with business with the court
  • Court users are encouraged to attend court alone or with only one support person
  • Parties who believe they should be in self-isolation may be excused from attending court and should contact the court. 
  • Where possible, parties should lodge documents via CourtSA.

Criminal matters

  • Listings and trials are continuing as scheduled.
  • Defendants in custody will appear by AV link or telephone, including for trials and Treatment Intervention Court and Aboriginal Community Courts where appropriate.
  • Trials that are unable to proceed due to reasons related to COVID-19 restrictions will be adjourned. Where trials can proceed prosecution and defence are to appear in person.
  • Circuits will be reviewed and may be conducted by AVL. 
  • Prosecution may appear by AVL in general lists. Requests to appear by AVL will be considered favourably by Magistrates but may not be deemed suitable for guilty pleas.
  • Applications to appear by AVL or telephone are to be submitted by email to Registry or the chambers mailbox at least one business day prior to the hearing.

Civil proceedings

  • Parties in civil matters may be asked to appear by telephone, AVL or WebEx.
  • If this is to occur notification will be made by the Court, otherwise attendance in person is required.
  • Alternatively the Court may permit parties and practitioners to appear by phone after the first directions hearing, where it can be accommodated and there is compliance with arrangements made.
  • Hearings and trials in all actions: 
    • Subject to attendance at court directives, parties and practitioners are to appear in person at Court unless they are granted leave to appear by phone. 
    • Investigation and Examination summons hearings will be conducted by telephone. 
  • Mediations will be conducted by phone or WebEx. 
  • Pro bono mediations adjourned to a date to be advised.

Youth Court

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Arrangements from 4 April 2022

  • Entry to court buildings will be restricted to court users and media with business with the court where possible, to reduce the number of people in court buildings and courtrooms.
  • Court users are encouraged to attend court alone, or with only one support person, rather than multiple family members and friends.
  • Court users and media will be required to use QR codes to check-in to every courtroom, in addition to checking-in when entering a court building.
  • For enquiries, court users and media should telephone or email the Contact Centre.
  • Prosecution, Crown, parties and practitioners are expected to appear in person. 
  • Youths in custody will appear remotely. 
  • Conferencing units and circuits will be conducted by AVL. 

Attendance at court buildings or at conferences

  • Parties and practitioners are not to come to court if they have been in contact with a COVID-19 case, are required to isolate by SA Health or have COVID-19 symptoms.  
  • Masks must be worn in all court buildings including courtrooms. However, persons speaking for a protracted period of time will be excused and the mask can be removed.
  • No documents are to be handed up in Court.
  • Where possible, parties should lodge documents via electronic means.
  • Practitioners vulnerable to infection to contact the court to make alternative arrangements
  • No documents to be handed up in court

Arrangements for court proceedings and conferences

  • Normal court listing arrangements to continue. 
  • Youths in custody will appear by AVL or telephone.
  • Trials that are unable to proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions will be adjourned. Where trials can proceed, prosecution and defence are to appear in person. 
  • In relation to Conferences, Department for Child Protection, SAPOL and Department for Education representatives are expected to appear in person whenever possible.
  • Generally, parties and practitioners are expected to attend court or conferences in person. However, permission to appear by telephone or AVL may be granted.
  • WebEx may be used to facilitate hearings or conferences. 
  • Conferences (Family Group, Education and Family) are to proceed adhering to practice guidelines. 

SACAT

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Measures:

  • SACAT currently has all reception desks open. 
  • The majority of hearings will be conducted by telephone or video
  • In a small number of cases, only in accordance with public health information and if social distancing is available, SACAT may determine that it will be preferable for there to be physical attendance at SACAT. 
  • Please do not attend at SACAT if you have any cold or flu like symptoms and seek a COVID test immediately.
  • Documents are to be lodged via email.
  • All attendees must scan in using the QR code or provide details for contact tracing. 

Western Australia 

Court and Tribunal Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions, 31 January 2022

The Western Australia Chief Health Officer has issued the Court and Tribunal Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions (Directions) under the Public Health Act 2016 (WA), which apply to all of the Courts and Tribunals in Western Australia. 

Key measures include:

  • From 5 March 2022, a court or tribunal worker must not enter or remain at a court or tribunal site if the worker has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • The above requirements do not apply to a person who is at a court or tribunal site in a capacity other than as a court and tribunal worker or is an exempt person.
  • The Directions do not prevent an unvaccinated person from entering any part of a court or tribunal site for the purposes of:
    • Performing a statutory duty under Commonwealth law or under Work Health and Safety laws
    • Responding to an emergency where a fully or partially vaccinated person is not available to respond
    • In any circumstances approved in writing by the Chief Health Officer.
  • The employer or the Head of Jurisdiction must only roster or otherwise permit to work, a vaccinated worker or an exempt person.
  • Any person other than a court and tribunal worker who enters a court or tribunal site must provide evidence of their vaccination status for inspection, recording and retention of a copy if required to do so by the Head of Jurisdiction. 

Supreme Court

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Measures:

  • From 29 April 2022, all persons attending the Court must wear masks at all times where social distancing is not possible. A judicial officer may require the wearing of masks during the course of proceedings.
  • From 4 February 2022, all persons who enter the court building are to provide evidence of their vaccination to security upon arrival.
  • From 3 May 2021 e-filing and e-lodgement using the eCourts portal is mandatory for all documents filed in civil appeals in the Court of Appeal. 

District Court

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29 April 2022 – Public Notice 4 of 2022 – COVID-19

This Notice is to be read in conjunction with Public Notice COVID-19 Court and Tribunal Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions issued by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia on 31 January 2022.

  • Parties, counsel and other participants in hearings, other than trial hearings, may appear in person or by video or audio link, unless otherwise ordered by the presiding judge or registrar.
  • The Chief Judge requires that all persons entering the Court provide evidence of their vaccination status for inspection by security.
  • Counsel are required to ask their client/s, and all counsel are required to ask proposed witnesses, whether they have been partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated, are defined as exempt or are not vaccinated.
  • Members of the public or other participants in a hearing may be directed not to enter a courtroom at the direction of the presiding judge or registrar.

Hearings (Other than trials and sentencing hearings)

  • Where matters are listed other than for trial or for sentencing, parties and other participants may appear in-person or by video or audio link, unless otherwise ordered by the presiding judge or registrar.
  • This applies to all hearings including (but not limited to) General Duties Lists, Trial Listing Hearings, Sentence Mention Lists, Listing Conferences, General Chambers Special Appointments etc.
  • All documents relating to the hearing must be filed electronically not less than two business days before the hearing.

Sentencing

  • Sentencing of those in custody will proceed by way of video link, unless otherwise ordered by the presiding judge.
  • Those on bail pending sentence should attend the Court in person for sentencing hearings unless otherwise directed.
  • Counsel should appear in-person or by audio or visual link.

Trials (Civil and criminal by jury and by judge alone)

  • Trials will continue to proceed wherever possible. Arrangements have been made for accused, counsel, parties, witnesses and any other participants for trial hearings to continue to appear in person as safely as possible.
  • Bespoke arrangements for a trial are at the direction of the presiding judge.
  • Witnesses in custody are required to give evidence by video link, unless, by order of a judge, alternative arrangements are made at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

Public Access

  • The Court is open to the public unless otherwise ordered by the Chief Judge or the presiding judge or registrar. 

Circuits

  • For the time being, all circuit listings remain as usual. 
  • The appearance mode for counsel, parties and participants in sentencing, trial and other hearings at circuit locations will proceed at the direction of the presiding judge. 

Magistrates' Court

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  • You are not permitted to enter the court building unless you:
    • Are required to do so for a listed matter or have otherwise been directed to attend in relation to a matter;
    • Require face to face services of the registry;
    • Hold a media accreditation card;
    • Are a recognised support person for a participant in the Mental Health Court or Drug Court;
    • Have received express prior approval from the judicial officer hearing the matter;
    • Are wearing a mask.
  • Do not enter the building if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are required to self-isolate.
  • To comply with social distancing requirements, the Court is limiting the number of persons in court. You may be requested to leave the building and return at a specified time. 
  • All documents for lodgement should be presented for lodgement electronically via the eCourts portal. 
  • Where a party does not wish to appear before the Magistrates Court in person (due to self- isolation or falling into a “high risk” category), they are encouraged to notify the Magistrates Court of their concerns in writing, and request to appear at the hearing by telephone link.

WASAT

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Measures:

  • Do not enter the SAT building if you are required to quarantine or isolate or are unwell with flu like symptoms. 
  • Most WASAT proceedings will, where possible, be conducted by telephone, or video conference.
  • Applications and other documents can be filed electronically through the eCourts portal or otherwise by email.
  • All persons entering WASAT must provide evidence of their vaccination status for inspection at security.

Tasmania 

Supreme Court

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19 January 2022 – Practice Direction No. 1 of 2022 – Arrangements relating to COVID-19

Alternatives to face to face appearances

  • In both the criminal and civil jurisdictions, to the greatest extent possible, cases will be dealt with without face-to-face appearances.
  • Judges may preside in cases without entering a courtroom, participating by some form of audio visual link, or by telephone. 
  • As a general rule, legal practitioners will be permitted to appear in Court by means of audio visual technology or by telephone. 
  • So far as possible, steps will be taken to avoid the need for accused persons to attend Court.

Bail cases

  • The judges will continue to hear bail appeals and bail applications as expeditiously as possible.
  • Bail applications may be lodged electronically via email.
  • Prisoners will not be brought to Court unless a judge directs otherwise.

Criminal matters currently listed

  • Judges will continue to deal with pleas of guilty by persons in custody. The arrangements will vary from case to case, as considered appropriate by the presiding judges. 
  • Prisoners pleading guilty will not be brought to Court unless a judge so directs.
  • Judges will continue to deal with some pleas of guilty by accused persons who are on bail. Arrangements will be made on a case by case basis in the discretion of the sentencing judges.
  • Unless otherwise directed, prisoners will not be required to be transported to Court. Video links will be arranged to the places where they are held.

Key measures from 15 December 2021

  • Visitors attending the Supreme Court fall into two groups:
    • Mandatory attendees: e.g. accused persons, witnesses, jurors, legal practitioners, other agency support staff required for court proceedings.
    • Non-mandatory attendees: members of the public, family and friends of an accused, journalists.
  • Of the above groups, those who are fully vaccinated will be permitted entry upon providing proof of vaccination or medical exemption to court security officers. 
  • Those who are not vaccinated:
    • If a mandatory attendee, they will be permitted entry on condition that they wear a mask in the court building.
    • If a non-mandatory attendee, entry will be refused. 
  • The Court will manage unvaccinated mandatory attendees with the use of masks, or alternative modes of attendance, e.g. witnesses by videolink from the protected witness room; or jurors may be excused.
  • Each judge will determine the appropriate measures that apply in his or her courtroom depending on the circumstances of the case.

Magistrates Court

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Measures from 14 March 2022:

  • Entry is not permitted to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and those required to self-isolate. 
  • Limits remain on the number of people who may enter the building to allow physical distancing in all public areas, including court rooms.
  • Any person who is not a participant in proceedings before the court is requested to stay outside the building.
  • A person who requires support for their court appearance may be accompanied by one person to provide support. 
  • On entry, a person must comply with physical distancing requirements. 
  • Anyone entering court buildings must register their name and contact phone number for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes.
  • Lawyers are reminded that if they wish to appear before the court by telephone or Zoom they should complete the audio/audio visual request form, available on the Court’s website two days before the appearance.

31 January 2022 – Practice Direction 1 of 2022 – Criminal and General Division Court Practices

  • General – those entering the Court must comply with COVID-19 safety standards and directions of court staff. 
  • Appearances before the Court may be in person or by audio or audio visual link, as the magistrate directs. 
  • People in custody – wherever possible, people in custody may appear by audio or audio visual link unless a magistrate directs otherwise. 
  • Hearings of contested matters in person may resume provided they can be conducted safely. 
  • Bail variation applications may be dealt with in person or by audio or audio visual link as the magistrate directs. 
  • Family violence order/restraint order applications may be dealt with in person or by audio or audio visual link as the magistrate directs. 
  • Youth Justice – young people in detention centres will appear by audio or audio visual link, unless a magistrate directs otherwise.
  • Child protection applications may be dealt with in person or by audio or audio visual link, as the magistrate directs. 
  • Court mandated diversion proceedings may be in person or audio or audio visual link, as the magistrate directs. 
  • Mental health diversion list proceedings may be in person or audio or audio visual link, as the magistrate directs. 
  • In-custody contest mentions will be heard by audio or audio visual link, unless a magistrate directs otherwise.
  • Non-custody contest mentions may be dealt with in person or by audio or audio visual link, as the magistrate directs. 

ACT 

Resumption of Court operations from 1 November 2021

In line with the ACT Government’s Pathway Forward, the Supreme Court and Magistrates Court will continue operations in line with special COVID-19 measures and court specific directions below. 

  • No entry allowed for people who are diagnosed with COVID-19, awaiting test results, required to quarantine or are close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Only persons who have matters or immediate business with the court may enter the precinct.
  • Masks must be worn at all times, subject to exceptions.
  • Physical distancing of 1.5 m must be observed.
  • All persons must check-in using the Check-In CBR app. 
  • Registry counter is open for lodging documents, payments and enquiries.

Supreme Court

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10 February 2022 – Restricted entry to the courthouse to support public health orders

  • The following members of the public must not enter the Supreme Court or the Magistrates’ Court of the ACT:
    • A person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • A person awaiting the test results for COVID-19
    • A person required to quarantine or self-isolate 
    • A person who has no immediate business at the courthouse except:
      • One support person for a litigant or vulnerable witness
      • Journalists reporting on the proceeding
      • In an exceptional case, a judicial officer, registrar or sheriff may permit other persons to enter.
  • A person with immediate business must produce evidence of their requirement to be in the courthouse
  • A person who is in a public area of the courthouse must wear a mask unless expressly excused.
  • A member of the public must leave the premises if directed to do so by a judicial officer, registrar, authorised person or sheriff because of an apparent failure to:
    • Maintain a distance of 1.5 from other persons
    • Wear a mask as required
    • Produce evidence of a health condition when requested whilst in the courthouse. 

Magistrates' Court

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From 1 December 2021, the Magistrates' Court returned to in-person appearances.

Coroners Court

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6 April 2020 – Interim Coronial Practice Directions – Coroners Court Interim COVID-19 Measures

  • Critical functions of the court will continue, these are:
    • Receipt of death notifications, decisions and directions in relation to post-mortem examinations
    • Decisions in relation to release certificates and release of bodies of deceased persons after necessary examinations are complete
    • Essential investigative paperwork
    • Essential correspondence
    • File closure of non-complex cases
  • All other work of the Court will be conducted subject to resourcing limitations
  • The continuation of already listed hearings is at the discretion of the presiding Coroner. Consideration shall be given to appearances by parties by AV Link or telephone
  • Interested parties may apply to the court for the listing of urgent matters. This is to be done via email and will be decided in chambers. Outcomes will be delivered by email or telephone
  • Filing of documents is to be done via email
  • Inspection of subpoenaed material and registry files will be permitted only in exceptional circumstances

ACAT

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Measures:

  • All ACAT listings will continue unless told otherwise
  • Generally, you will need to attend listings in person, however you can send a written request to attend remotely. 
  • ACAT will consider and advise you if your request to attend remotely is granted. 
  • People attending ACAT’s premises must comply with social distancing rules, wear a mask, check in and leave ACAT as soon as they complete their business.
  • You should not attend ACAT’s premises if you have COVID-19 symptoms, are required to self-isolate, or if you have no immediate business at ACAT premises.

Northern Territory 

Darwin Courts and Tribunals are operating normally.

Supreme Court

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Measures:

  • The Supreme Court resumed the conduct of jury trials from Monday, 22 June 2020
  • On 20 January 2022, the Court implemented the Supreme Court Jury Safety Plan outlining jury measures in light of the COVID-19 situation. 
  • All documents required to be filed or lodged in criminal proceedings and bail matters must be filed or lodged electronically by email. 
  • All documents required to be filed for civil matters must be filed electronically by email. 
  • People advised not to enter court if they meet screening criteria for COVID-19

Local Court

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  • All circuit court sittings will resume from Tuesday 17 April 2022. 
  • From 18 February 2022, all Local Courts sitting hours will be 9.30am to 4.00pm due to reduced capacity. 
  • All people in custody are excused from attending and will not be required to appear via video from a correctional facility, unless the matter is due to progress by bail application, plea, sentence or are self-represented.
  • Leave is granted to appear via Teams or telephone if this can be facilitated. 
  • If a person is COVID positive or displaying symptoms, they should not attend at the courthouse location. 

Children's Court

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  • All youths in detention will appear via AV link or telephone.
  • Represented youths need not attend court unless matter is being finalised.
  • Responsible adults may appear via AV link or telephone.

NTCAT & MHRT

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  • Listings and other tribunal processes that were cancelled or deferred in response to the pandemic have now been restored
  • NTCAT will continue to conduct itself according to requirements imposed by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth. Governments and will expect parties to tribunal matters to do the same.
  • Parties are expected to attend in person at the tribunal for listings (hearings and compulsory conferences).
  • A party wishing to participate by remote means will need to make an application for NTCAT’s permission to do so.
  • NTCAT’s strong preference is that remote participation (if permitted) is by means of online videoconferencing using the WebEx application.