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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.

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.

This information was last updated on 3 July 2020 at 3.30pm.

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

Victoria 

The Department of Justice and Community Safety has released a Summary Table of Audio Visual Link and Audio Link Requirements During COVID-19. To access table, click the link below. 

 

Supreme Court

annoucnment Latest announcement 

Measures:

  • A limited number of criminal jury trials will resume on 20 July 2020 in Melbourne
  • Measures will be taken to ensure social distancing of jurors and court attendees
  • Applications for trial by Judge Alone may be made by the accused or by the prosecution 
    • Accused or prosecution must notify the Court of their intention to make an application for trial by judge alone via email
    • Applications must then be filed electronically via RedCrest within 7 days of notifying the Court. The applying party must then serve the application on each of the other parties
    • Other parties (including any co-accused) may respond with their position on whether or not they consent to trial by judge alone
    • Where the accused or any co-accused do not consent, trial by judge alone cannot proceed (unless separate trials have been ordered for co-accused)
    • All applications will be conducted as much as possible on the papers.
    • The Court may seek further written submissions and information electronically and will contact the parties via email or telephone if necessary
    • If an application for a trial by judge alone is granted the Court will allocate a trial judge and new trial date
  • Duty Judge of the Commercial Court continues to be available to hear urgent applications via telephone, AV link, on papers or as directed by the Court
  • Practice Court (Common Law)
    • Matters will by default be dealt with by a judge in chambers, on the papers
    • If the sitting judge considers a hearing is required, this will be via AV link
    • Documents to be filed electronically via online portal
    • If either party opposes the application being dealt with on papers, a submission can be provided by email 
  • Civil Proceedings:
    • The Court expects that acceptance of personal service electronically would be adopted in almost all cases
    • The Court may accept unsworn affidavits for filing that meet requirements outlined on Court website
    • Production of copy documents in electronic format in response to a subpoena is permitted
    • Subpoenaed persons (addressees) are encouraged to comply with a subpoena requiring the production of documents by providing an operable link to download and access the documents. Registry can be contact to provide further information or assistance
    • Parties ordered to file and serve court books are encouraged to comply by providing an operable link to download and access the court book
  • Information about virtual hearings available on Court’s website
  • Civil matters will be heard by Webex, Skype or Zoom depending on the requirements of the proceeding
  • Criminal hearings will only be heard by Webex or existing VideoLink technology
  • Appearances in the Winding Up in Insolvency List will be by telephone or AV link until further notice
  • Changes to regional court work and circuit sittings:
    • The Court will work with parties to hear matters remotely via telephone and AV link to minimise intrastate travel
    • Criminal jury trials listed for circuit in term 2 cannot proceed until juries recommence. Parties may have a trial in Melbourne in term 4 or adjourn until the next circuit sitting
    • Criminal pleas and sentencing for circuit matters will be heard via telephone or AV link
    • It may be appropriate for civil jury trials to be heard as causes. The Court will work with parties to process matters in the circuit list
    • Mediation services and hearings will continue via telephone or AV link
    • Court of Appeal will work with parties to conduct hearings via telephone or AV link
  • Registry Services – Registry, Probate Office, Court of Appeal – Application Books and Authorities and Inspection of Subpoenaed Material to be done via appointment
  • Filing of documents in Probate related matters must be sent via post
  • All ‘in person’ applications for admission indefinitely adjourned. Admissions to occur ‘on papers’.
  • Schedule available on Supreme Court website lists names of those admitted to practice on 31 March 2020 - The Chief Justice extends her warmest congratulations
  • Crimes Mental Impairment applications – where appropriate and consented to by parties will be decided on papers. Presiding judge will set timeline for written submission via email. Where necessary hearing submissions or oral evidence will likely be done via AV link
  • Costs Court – Filing summonses for taxation to be done electronically. 5 May 2020 callovers to be conducted by telephone, the Court cannot confirm a time and asks parties to be available on the date. 
  • Mediations and Taxations to be conducted via phone or Zoom
  • Preliminary hearings or reviews to be conducted on papers (preferred) or via phone or Zoom
  • Probate Office - From Monday, March 30, an affidavit of searches is no longer required for applications for probate and administration. The documents required to accompany those applications must be sent via post
  • In the Common Law Division, jury trials will now proceed before a judge alone, will be heard via telephone or AV link and parties will be asked to lodge court books electronically
  • Practice Court matters will be dealt with on papers
  • Civil Circuit, Institutional Liability, Major Torts, Personal Injuries and Professional Liability Lists to be dealt with on papers, unless otherwise specified
  • Fast tracking homicide matters to the Supreme Court – with consent from the accused, parts of the committal process may progress straight to the Supreme Court to assist the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts
  • Initial directions hearings for fast tracked homicide matters in the Supreme Court will be dealt with on papers or via AV link
  • New jury trials suspended from 16 March until further notice. Existing trials to be completed 
  • Admissions ceremonies suspended from 17 March until further notice. Admissions may be conducted on the papers, with applicants swearing or affirming their oaths or affirmations remotely before an authorised affidavit taker, and submitting an affidavit of proof of taking the oath or affirmation. Court will then make orders admitting those applicants 
  • Persons affected by COVID-19 who are required to attend court to notify the Prothonotary 
  • All Court of Appeal hearings to be conducted by AV link. Judges and court staff will be present in court, but parties will appear remotely. With agreement, Court of Appeal will determine matters on the papers 
  • Court of Appeal judgments to be delivered without the parties’ attendance 
  • Commercial Court directions hearings and interlocutory applications will only be heard in-person in exceptional circumstances. If consent orders are not possible, parties to outline areas of disagreement and matter will be dealt with on papers, by AV link or telephone 
  • From 25 March 2020 all company winding-up applications will be heard by telephone 
  • Commercial Court trials will be conducted electronically with witnesses giving evidence remotely. Short trials will be prioritised. Judgments will be delivered without the parties’ attendance 
  • In the Common Law Division, matters that were listed as jury trials will now proceed as judge-alone, unless a judge adjourns the proceedings. Trials will be conducted using telephone or AV links for parties, counsel and witnesses unless a judge directs otherwise. Where in-person hearings are required, strict time limits will be imposed, and listing times staggered to allow for social distancing 
  • Practice Court applications and Common Law interlocutory and case management hearings will be determined on the papers unless a judge orders otherwise. Judgments will be delivered without the parties’ attendance 
  • Non-jury matters in the Criminal Division will continue where parties are available. AV links will be used where required and available. Where in-person hearings are required, listing times may be staggered to allow for social distancing 

County Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Emergency Case Management Model Phase 3 will proceed with approximately 210 trials in the pool for review, including:
    • Approximately 190 Melbourne trials that were previously listed to commence between 3 August and 30 October 2020 and which have been, or will be, vacated
    • Approximately 20 Circuit trials previously listed which have been, or will be, vacated. Parties and practitioners will be notified by no later than 1 July 2020 of the cases identified within this pool
    • Responses for joint applications are due by no later than Friday 10 July 2020
    • Filing and exchange of full written submissions are due by no later than Friday 17 July 2020
    • Where only one party makes an application, the moving party must advise the Court of their application by no later than Friday 10 July 2020
  • A limited number of criminal jury trials will resume on 20 July 2020 in Melbourne
  • Measures will be taken to ensure social distancing of jurors and court attendees
  • Criminal Division Administrative Case Management Emergency Protocol
    • The Court has determined that there is a need for the recommencement of the 9:00am General and Sexual Offences List in order to administratively case manage matters currently in the jurisdiction.
    • No 9:00am hearing in the General or Sexual Offences List will occur for matters that have an application pending or have been accepted for Emergency Case Management
    • Un-opposed applications for bail, to vary bail or to adjourn a hearing will continue to be dealt with on the papers
    • On Monday 15 June 2020, the Court will resume some hearing types in the General List and the Sexual Offences List
    • Long Trials List will continue conducting administrative case management on an as needs basis
  • Mental Impairment and Unfitness to Stand Trial:
    • Where the issue of fitness to stand trial is raised before a matter has been committed to the County Court, an application for a special hearing by judge alone without a jury may be made by defence, prosecution or on the Court’s own motion
    • Applications are to be filed electronically
    • Opposing party will have an opportunity to respond
    • All applications for special hearing by judge alone will be conducted as much as possible on the papers and electronically
  • All trials previously listed to commence in Melbourne and on Circuit and which have been or will be vacated because of COVID-19 will fall within the pool of candidates for Emergency Case Management
  • Phase 2 will proceed with approximately 200 vacated trials in the pool for review, including:
    • Approximately 150 trials that were previously listed to commence between 4 May 2020 and 27 July 2020 and approximately 50 Circuit trials previously listed which have been or will be vacated because of COVID-19. Parties and practitioners will be notified by no later than 8 May 2020 
  • A fresh Protocol for 2020 trials will be implemented for the third phase and also for any subsequent phases
  • Contravention of Community Corrections Order Hearings:
    • All hearings will be conducted either in-person at court; using the Webex platform; or a combination of both
    • Hearings will be limited in duration by provision of full written submissions in advance, and having oral submissions restricted to additional matters
    • Default position is that any accused person in custody will appear for a contravention hearing by video link
    • If either party considers it necessary for the accused to attend court in person, the party must seek prior written approval from the Court
    • Accused on bail or self-represented accused attendance at court will be considered on an individual basis, with the relevant Judge’s staff contacting the parties
    • No documents are to be physically tendered to the Court during an in-person hearing
    • Parties must file via eLodgement before the hearing
  • Robing requirements for hearings
    • Practitioners are expected to fully robe for all matters of a type that would formerly have been heard at or after 10.30am, regardless of the time it is currently listed under the Emergency Protocols
    • Hearings where robes are not required for any practitioner include Directions Hearings
    • Practitioners who share robes are not required to robe, and not required to seek leave to appear unrobed. However such practitioners are asked to advise the associate to the allocated Judge in advance
  • Circuit Criminal and Appeal listings
    • Plea hearings, sentence appeals, bail applications and bail variations for matters committed or appealed to a regional location have been introduced into the non-trial work being conducted at the Melbourne County Court
    • Circuit Directions Hearings have been suspended until Monday 6 July 2020
    • The Court is planning for criminal trials or conventional circuits to recommence at the beginning of 2021, however this is not certain
    • Cases have been looked at holistically and prioritised
    • In early May the Circuit Team will commence allocating matters to 2021 circuit blocks
    • Matters will be relisted for trial either on the papers or listed for a virtual circuit directions hearing
    • Circuit appeals against sentence and pleas have been placed in priority order based, primarily, on the custody status of the appellant / accused
    • Circuit appeals against conviction, and circuit IVO and DHHS appeals are not currently proceeding
  • Relisting of Melbourne Criminal Trials (jury trials)
    • The Court has released two proposed models for relisting existing Criminal Trials
    • There is no certainty about when jury trials may resume. Still less is there any certainty about when they might resume as per business as usual
    • The two models are available on the Court’s website and show the recommencement of trials in either October 2020 or January 2021, dependant on COVID-19 restrictions 
  • Applications for trial by Judge Alone may be made by the accused or by the prosecution 
    • Accused or prosecution must notify the Court of their intention to make an application for trial by judge alone via email
    • Applications must then be filed electronically via eLodgement within 7 days of notifying the Court. The applying party must then serve the application on each of the other parties
    • Other parties (including any co-accused) may respond with their position on whether or not they consent to trial by judge alone
    • Where the accused or any co-accused do not consent, trial by judge alone cannot proceed (unless separate trials have been ordered for co-accused)
    • All applications will be conducted as much as possible on the papers and electronically 
    • The Court may seek further written submissions and information electronically and will contact the parties via email or telephone if necessary
    • If an application for a trial by judge alone is granted the Court will allocate a trial judge and new trial date

Criminal Division

  • From Monday 20 April 2020 the Court will resume hearing all plea hearings and sentence appeals in Melbourne on their original listed dates. Contested Bail Applications will continue to be listed
  • Part-heard plea hearing, sentence appeal or contested bail application matters will continue with assigned judge
  • ‘In person attendance’ at circuits will not proceed until further notice
  • Pleas and sentence appeals fixed for later in the year may be abridged at the request of a party, subject to capacity of Court
  • Non-sexual offence subpoena and disclosure work will be conducted on the papers where possible
  • All hearings:
    • will be conducted either in-person at court; using the WebEx platform; or a combination of both
    • where an in-person appearance permitted by the Court, parties must maintain physical distancing
    • hearings will be limited in duration by provision of full written submissions in advance
  • Accused persons in custody will appear by AV link. If either party considers that the accused should attend court in person, the party must seek prior approval from the Court
  • Attendance of accused on bail or self-represented accused will be determined on individual basis. Parties will be contact by the Court
  • No documents are to be physically tendered during an in-person hearing. Additional documents are to be emailed to the Court and all parties as soon as possible and e-lodged
  • Filing requirements under the current Criminal Division Practice Note remain in place, except for below changes/additions:
    • Pleas - the Court requests that both parties file full written submissions
    • Sentence Appeals - 34.    The Respondent must file via eLodgement at least 5 days before the Appeal Hearing and the appellant at least 3 days before the Hearing
    • Contested Bail Applications - provide an estimate of duration and a date from Criminal Registry for contested applications. 
    • Consent applications for bail will be conducted on the papers
  • Emergency Case Management Model Protocol 
    • Emergency Case Management Conferences will be listed to triage and target:
      • vacated trials which should settle or resolve
      • pre-trial rulings of major importance; and
      • urgent pre-recording of evidence
    • Parties may file an application for Emergency Case Management or the Court may initiate this
    • Timing and criteria are outlined on the Court’s website

Common Law Division

  • The Court expects that acceptance of service electronically would be adopted in almost all cases
  • An application for substituted service may be made via email to Registry
  • File documents electronically using the Court’s e-filing systems The Court will allow electronic signatures temporarily 
  • The Court may accept the filing of an affidavit which has not been sworn or affirmed if it meets criteria outlined on Court website
  • Inspection of subpoenaed documents by appointment only.  Must be for matters listed to be heard or deemed urgent by the Court
  • All hearings (including trials and directions hearings) will be conducted via AV link, unless not feasible
  • Witnesses must be in a room on their own when giving evidence
  • Parties will be advised via email as to when judgment is to be delivered. Judgments will usually be delivered via videolink
  • Circuits will continue, where possible, as remote eTrials

Commercial Division

  • Protocols for Personal Service, Filing Documents, Witnessing Affidavits and Inspecting Subpoenaed Material, same as Common Law Division above
  • Commercial Division will be encouraging greater use of witness statements and written submissions to be submitted via email
  • Some applications and lists will be determined on papers, where appropriate
  • If a hearing is conducted, it will be via AV link or telephone. Parties may apply to have matters heard via eHearing
  • Parties with listed trials which are impacted by COVID-19 measures to may be offered a Non-binding Neutral Evaluation (“NNE”) via remote eHearing in lieu of the trial
  • Trials will be conducted remotely via eTrial
  • Changes to regional court work and circuit sittings:
    • The Court will work with parties to hear matters remotely via telephone and AV link to minimise intrastate travel
    • Criminal jury trials listed for circuit cannot proceed until juries recommence. 
    • The Court will focus on indictable pleas and sentences, sentence appeals, appropriate pre-trial hearings and the case management of vacated jury trials
    • It may be appropriate for civil jury trials to be heard as causes. The Court will work with parties to process matters in the circuit list
    • Mediation services and hearings will continue via telephone or AV link
  • Registry remains open. From 31 March, face-to-face services will only be available in urgent circumstances after an initial assessment via telephone
  • New jury trials suspended from 16 March until further notice. Existing trials to be completed at the direction of the presiding judge 

Magistrates’ Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Magistrates’ Court venues remain open, however a range of non-urgent matters have been adjourned
  • Persons affected by COVID-19 who are required to attend court to phone the court before entering the building

Matters to be heard on papers. Practice Directions 8 – 11 2020

  • Summary Pleas, Diversion Hearings, Unopposed Bail Variations and Sentence Indication Hearings will all be heard on papers from 7 May 2020
  • To list matters, documents must be filed electronically with Registry
  • Parties will be advised of listing date
  • On listing date, a Magistrate will hear the matter on papers
  • Depending on the outcome parties may:
    • be notified of outcome by email
    • the matter may be adjourned part heard and listed for further hearing
    • the matter may be listed for mention or contest mention

Criminal Proceedings - from Thursday 9 April Practice Direction 5 2020 (replacing Practice Direction 3 2020)

  • Bail and Summons Matters:
    • All initiations must proceed via the courts Electronic Management Diary (EMD)
    • All criminal proceedings [except Filing Hearings, Committal Mentions and Committal Hearings] where the accused is on summons or bail will be adjourned to a fixed date later in the year. Bail will be extended.
    • Parties must attend on new date
  • Custody Matters
    • Court will continue to hear Applications for Bail, Applications to vary Bail, Applications to revoke Bail, Pleas of guilty in the summary stream and Contest mentions via AV link 
    • Summary contests where the accused is in custody will be adjourned and parties will be advised of a new date
  • Contested Committal Hearings 
    • Currently listed will be abridged to the Monday of the week in which they are listed and then adjourned to a new hearing date
    • Contested Committals which have been adjourned for special mention on 15 April, 22 April and 29 April will now be listed for hearing later in the year
    • No attendance by the accused is required
  • Filing Hearings, Committal mentions and Case conferences
    • Will continue to be heard. Where an accused is on summons or bail, their attendance will not be required
    • If a Committal mention, Committal case conference or Special mention has resolved to a straight hand up brief, the accused and their legal representative MUST attend that hearing

Family Violence Protection and Personal Safety -- from Thursday 9 April. Practice Direction 6 2020 (replacing Practice Direction 2 2020) 

  • New listing time frames will apply for:
    • Intervention order applications (FV IVOs and PS IVOs).  Includes new applications and applications for variation, extension and revocation
    • Applications under the Family Law Act 1975
  • First listing dates for urgent applications will be on a case by case basis
  • Otherwise, first listing dates for IVO applications will be:
    • Family Violence Safety Notice – not later than 14 days after service
    • Victoria Police FV and PS IVO applications - will be allocated through the use of the EMD
    • Non-Victoria Police FV and PS IVO applications – will be allocated by a Court Registrar
  • Unless otherwise ordered by the court second and subsequent listings will be adjourned and parties will be advised of the new date
  • Matters already adjourned to the nominal date of 15 June 2020 will now be allocated new hearing dates. Parties are not required to attend on 15 June 2020 but must attend on the new specified date

Koori Court Matter – Practice Direction 7 2020. Relating to matters commencing 27 April 2020

  • Bail and summons matters:
    • All initiations to proceed via Electronic Management Diary
    • All matters identified as proceeding,where accused is on summons or bail, and all matters listed on 15 June will be adjourned to 14 August 2020. No appearance required, bail will be extended to 14 August
  • Where accused is in custody, Koori Court will continue to hear the following matters by AV link:
    • Plea hearings where accused is seeking to transfer to mainstream court
    • Applications for bail, bail variations and bail revocations, which will all be heard in mainstream court
  • Koori Court Officers are continuing to work remotely assisting accused

Civil Jurisdictions – Practice Direction 12 2020

  • Commencement of proceedings
    • Initiating process (“Complaint”) is to be mailed or scanned and emailed to Proper Venue
    • Court will not accept documentation filed in person at Registry
  • Applications and Directions Hearings 
    • Will be determined on papers or court will direct parties to attend court
    • Parties are to exchange written submissions
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Matters may be referred to a Prehearing Conference (PHC), Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) or Mediation depending on circumstances
    • PCHs will be conducted by telephone or AV link
    • ENEs will be conducted in person before a Magistrate
  • Contested Hearings – parties must file a joint paginated Court book in hardcopy and searchable PDF
  • Inspecting Subpoenaed material must be done by appointment with relevant Registry
  • No practitioners or parties are to attend court unless otherwise directed

WorkCover jurisdiction – Practice Direction 13 2020

  • Commencement of proceedings and inspecting subpoenaed material same as in Civil Jurisdiction (PD 12 2020)
  • The Mention List will continue to be dealt with on papers, no parties should attend court, unless otherwise directed
  • Parties seeking to have matters fixed for Contested Hearing must file by email to WokCover Registrar
  • All Contested Hearings already listed will continue on allocated date

VOCAT 

  • VOCAT will continue to process application
  • For urgent requests, parties instructed to contact local court VOCAT registrar
  • Directions hearings via telephone
  • Listed hearings adjourned until 15 June 2020 
  • Authorised psychological counselling and urgent report assessments to be undertaken by phone or remotely

VCAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From 18 May, VCAT will expand the types of matters that it hears to include matters already listed for hearing where they can reasonably proceed using telephone or videoconference
  • VCAT will advise when face-to-face hearings resume
  • VCAT will contact parties with matters listed on or after this date to confirm whether their matter will progress on the listed date
  • Matters that can be determined ‘on the papers’ will continue to be determined in that way
  • All listed matters which can only proceed face-to-face will be adjourned to a future date to be fixed
  • Mediations conducted by VCAT Panel mediators will resume
  • All venues closed to the public
  • VCAT is hearing as many cases as possible by phone
  • Directions hearings and some less complex matters will proceed via telephone or AV link. Parties will be contacted by VCAT to advise if their matter is to proceed
  • No face-to-face hearings are scheduled, and all non-critical cases listed up to and including 15 May 2020 will be adjourned for the foreseeable future
  • VCAT will contact you regarding your matter
  • Residential Tenancies and Guardianship matters and other critical matters to be heard by telephone. Any material for these lists to be emailed to the Tribunal
  • VCAT is still accepting applications about any matter that falls in VCAT's jurisdiction. All non-critical matters will be postponed to a future date

Children’s Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • In response to stage 3 restrictions in Broadmeadows, the following measures will be in place at the Broadmeadows Children’s Court from 2 July to 29 July 2020
    • All Family Division matters heard at the Broadmeadows Children’s Court complex will be heard remotely
    • Emergency Care matters – to proceed online
    • Mentions - to be adjourned on the papers with existing orders to be extended on the same terms & conditions, unless otherwise requested. Consent orders are to be filed in accordance with Practice Direction 1 of 2020.  Parties may apply for a reserved submissions hearing.
    • Reserve Submissions – to continue online
    • Readiness hearings – to continue online
    • Family Drug Treatment Court reviews to be conducted online
    • For information regarding Marram-Ngala Ganbu, contact the Koori Services Coordinator 
  • Entry to the Children’s Court continues to be restricted in accordance with the previous Public Notices

Attending Court

  • Entry to Children’s Courts restricted. All persons who do not need to be at Court are asked not to enter
  • Wherever possible, court users are not to appear in person but via AV link or telephone
  • People are NOT permitted to enter the Children’s Court if they have travelled overseas in the last 14 days, been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have flu-like symptoms

Family Division

  • Contests by evidence are on hold for now
  • Families are not required to attend Court if lawyers hold up-to-date instructions
  • Broadmeadows and Moorabbin Courts are open. Cases that are not adjourned in accordance with Practice Direction 1 of 2020 will be heard at those Courts from 11 May 2020
  • Children are not to be brought to Court, unless no other arrangements are available
  • Conciliation conferences will be conducted by teleconference
  • Clinical assessments made prior to 23 March will be reviewed. Thereafter any clinical assessments will be suspended unless ordered by the Court
  • Family Drug Treatment Court will suspend face to face meetings and will provide support via electronic/telephone communication. Monitoring hearings will be conducted via telephone
  • Family Violence Intervention Orders – any pre-court meetings are suspended and parties are to liaise by electronic means prior to hearings
  • For cases in which parties consent or do not oppose proposed orders, parties are to complete an electronic form available on Children’s Court website

Criminal Division

  • The Clinic is continuing to conduct assessments remotely
  • Children’s Koori Court suspended until further notice
  • The Court will introduce staggered listings where practicable
  • Charges on Summons to be listed or adjourned for 12 weeks, unless otherwise ordered by Court
  • On bail – to be adjourned (with bail extended/varied) to a date to be determined by the presiding judicial officer
  • For cases in which parties consent or do not oppose proposed orders, parties are to complete an electronic form available on Children’s Court website
  • All CAYPINS matters to be adjourned for 16 weeks
  • Youth Justice is continuing to monitor children on supervised bail, deferrals, YAO’s etc, albeit remotely in most cases

Coroners Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Coronial hearings will continue to be held remotely via technology wherever feasible. From 30 April 2020:
    • Some court hearings that require the physical presence of persons at the Court may be scheduled, providing strict adherence to distancing advice is observed
    • Inquests that were previously adjourned to a date to be fixed will now be rescheduled on a case by case basis
  • Some hearings which require the physical attendance of any person at the Coroners Court not will proceed 
  • Inquest Findings, Summary Inquests, Direction Hearings and Mention Hearings will be facilitated through technology
  • Inquests are adjourned to a date to be fixed but not before 31 May 2020
  • Investigations are ongoing

Federal 

High Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Registry services will be provided via telephone and online. In urgent circumstances, face-to-face services may be provided after initial assessment via telephone
  • Documents to be filed electronically using electronic filing facility. Documents may be faxed or emailed to relevant registry where electronic filing is unavailable
  • The Court will temporarily allow electronic signatures on documents 
  • Inspection of documents by appointment only. Appointments only for matters in the subsequent 4 weeks or otherwise urgent matters
  • Arrangements will be made to hear some matters on papers or via telephone or AV link. If these arrangements are not able to be made, matters may be vacated or adjourned
  • Short listings may be conducted on papers or via telephone
  • Longer listings will undergo a triage process to prioritise matters and may continue through the use of remote access and file sharing technology 
  • New Practice Direction -  documents to be filed for cases commenced before 1 January 2020 to be emailed as PDF attachment to relevant Registry Office
  • Office hours of Registry will be from 10.00am to 1.00pm
  • All sittings suspended in April, May and June. Future sittings will be reviewed in June
  • Judgements will continue to be delivered
  • Special leave applications and urgent matters will be dealt with

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
  • Public facing counters and face-to-face services closed from Tuesday 24 March 2020 
  • 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
  • Viewing subpoenaed materials by appointment only for matters to be heard in the next 4 weeks
  • Court will contact parties for 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

Family Court and Federal Circuit Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The Courts are increasing in-person work in a staggered way over the coming months
  • The Courts will be minimising the number of people in Court and implementing social distancing practices
  • All work that can be heard remotely should continue to be heard by video
  • Any face-to-face hearings will be conducted in accordance with the social distancing
  • Only urgent and appropriate matters will be dealt with in-person
  • Child Dispute Services – where possible, interviews should be conducted electronically
    • For in person CDS interviews, social distancing measures will be in place as well as limits on the number of people per room
  • The Courts are increasing face-to-face hearings in a staggered way over the coming months commencing Monday, 15 June 2020
  • Any face-to-face hearings from Monday, 15 June 2020 need to be approved by the relevant case management judge
  • Priority will be given to urgent trials and urgent hearings of applications that the judge considers cannot be dealt with via Microsoft Teams or over the telephone
  • Additional measures to ensure social distancing and cleaning in courtrooms will be in place
  • The Courts are establishing a COVID-19 list to deal exclusively with urgent parenting-related disputes that have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • The list will commence on 29 April 2020 and will operate initially for approximately three months, but this will be assessed
    • To expedite the urgent applications, matters will be dealt with through electronic means—from filing via email to conducting hearings via Microsoft Teams
    • Applications to be placed in this list to be done via email
  • From 25 March 2020, temporary debt relief measures for individuals and businesses:
    • Debt threshold for creditors to apply for a Bankruptcy Notice against a debtor will increase from $5,000 to $20,000.
    • Timeframe for a debtor to respond to a Bankruptcy Notice before a creditor can commence bankruptcy proceedings will be increased from 21 days to up to six months.
    • Temporary protection period procedure available for debtors to prevent recovery action by unsecured creditors will increase from 21 days to six months.
  • These temporary measures will be available for six months and do not impact on Bankruptcy Notices issued before 25 March 2020
  • Information for stakeholders on alternative dispute resolution, settlement and mediation services in different states and territories available on Court website
  • State border restrictions may affect families that have court orders in place that involve shared-parenting arrangements across State borders
    • There is currently no national approach to how parents should deal with this situation
    • The Courts strongly advise that families seek advice from the relevant State and Territory authorities
    • You may be required to provide the appropriate court order to border control personnel
  • Migration applications
    • Matters listed before 30 June 2020 attendance at court not required. Matters will be decided by consent or on papers. The Court will contact you, in writing, to make arrangements for your hearing
    • Matters listed after 1 July 2020 will likely proceed in person. Parties will be advised if alternative arrangements are needed
  • Family Court remains open to assist people and recognises that compliance with court orders may be difficult in changing circumstances
  • Registries are open for telephone calls and online services
  • Parents are encouraged to reach alternate agreements, if necessary. These should be in writing and consent order applications for varied parenting orders may be filed electronically
  • The Court will continue to conduct hearings via AV link or telephone and face-to-face in limited circumstances
  • Family Dispute Resolution services remain available online
  • Public facing counters and face-to-face services closed from Tuesday 24 March 2020 
  • Registries are still working to provide services via telephone and online
  • Priority will be given to urgent matters (e.g. those involving risk of family violence)
  • New Practice Direction taking effect immediately - all documents should be e-filed or emailed to relevant registry. Hard copy documents should not be posted or delivered to Registry
  • Viewing of subpoenas by appointment only. Parties should only request to view subpoenaed material if the matter is urgent
  • Signatures on documents and affidavits may be done electronically
  • Different protocols for different lists, wherever possible matters will continue via telephone or AV link, or will follow face-to-face protocols
  • Parties will be contacted by the Court indicating that a matter will be heard by telephone
  • Parties will have an opportunity to approach the court seeking that a matter not proceed via telephone
  • For face to face hearings, priority will be given to urgent matters that the judge considers cannot be dealt with over the phone
  • Urgent and priority trials and contested hearings to proceed in safest manner possible
  • Non-urgent property only and parenting trials may be adjourned at discretion of the judge
  • Trials or hearings to be conducted by telephone where possible
  • High volume lists to be staggered to reduce the number of people in attendance at one time
  • For final hearings the judge will conduct a telephone callover for defended hearings in the next 2 months. Parties should the judge of the urgency and status of the case
  • Low priority cases may be sent to ADR event and the matter will be adjourned until further notice
  • High priority cases will remain listed and following in-court protocol 
  • Security screening will also be staggered
  • Appeals in Sydney commencing the week of 20 April and 18 May will be conducted for no longer than 1.5 hours in court with judges appearing via AV link or telephone if necessary
  • Appeals in Adelaide commencing the week of 4 May will be conducted for no longer than 1.5 hours in court with presiding judge and the other two judges appearing via AV link or telephone
  • Appeals in Melbourne commencing the week of 4 May will be conducted with all three judges appearing via AV link or telephone
  • Trials or hearings to be conducted by telephone where possible. Parties will be provided with listing times and operational instructions for telephone hearings by the Court
  • 8 person cap on non-court staff in a courtroom at one time. Any additional people must remain outside the courtroom
  • Sydney Federal Circuit Court callovers vacated and adjourned to a date to be fixed. Callovers in Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane, Parramatta and Adelaide postponed until further notice
  • Regional circuits of the Federal Circuit Court under review and may be adjourned or conducted by telephone
  • Migration matters that can be conducted by telephone or AV link to proceed. If an in-person hearing is required, it may be postponed, subject to urgency of the case
  • Other general federal law matters may proceed in person at judge’s discretion, if safe and subject to 8 person in-court cap
  • Registrar migration lists suspended
  • Parties encouraged to only bring essential attendees to court
  • Parties not to enter courtroom until matter is called
  • Changes to Registrars’ practices to maximise the use of telephone and AV link hearings
  • High volume lists to be staggered to reduce the number of people in attendance at one time
  • Matters may be adjourned if not practicable via telephone and non-urgent
  • Matters that are not practicable via telephone and are urgent will proceed face-to-face
  • Interpreters will also appear via telephone if possible
  • Short matters for mention or directions hearings will be listed at 30 minute intervals
  • Longer contested matters will not be listed for more than 1.5 hours, with time between hearings for cleaning to occur
  • 8 person cap on non-court staff in a courtroom at one time. Any additional people must remain outside the courtroom
  • Social distancing in the courtroom is required. Seats will be marked in each courtroom (1.5-2 metres apart). 
  • All applications and documents must be e-filed or emailed to Registry. Where possible, avoid handing up documents directly
  • Child Dispute Conferences will be conducted via telephone, parties will be sent details
  • Family report interviews will proceed, unless otherwise advised

AAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • AAT has released new Practice Directions in the following Divisions:
    • General, Freedom of Information and Veterans’ Appeals
    • Migration & Refugee
    • National Disability Insurance Scheme
    • Small Business Taxation and Taxation & Commercial
    • Social Services & Child Support.
  • All take effect from 29 April 2020 until superseded or revoked 
  • Previous Directions will continue to apply, however, where the terms of new Directions are inconsistent with the terms of another direction on the same matter, the terms of the new Directions apply
  • Registries are closed to all visitors until further notice. Services will be provided electronically
  • Staff remain available to answer calls, emails and process online applications 
  • Oral applications for review can be made via telephone
  • Written applications for review can be lodged online, via email or via post (if you cannot send by email)
  • Documents can be lodged electronically online or via email
  • If you cannot lodge electronically, you may lodge via post or phone registry to discuss
  • Documents may be signed by scanning or photographing signed hard copies, or by using electronic signatures or typing your name
  • There will be no in-person hearings (including pre-hearing processes and summonses), unless in exceptional circumstances.  Hearings will be by telephone or AV link
  • A request to issue one or more summonses to produce documents must be in writing
  • AAT will not postpone a scheduled hearing unless there are good reasons to justify the postponement 
  • AAT will triage and prioritise certain urgent matters
  • Parties may request to expedite decisions in some cases
  • Parties may consent to the Tribunal deciding the review without a hearing in some cases

New South Wales 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The court hopes to recommence jury trials from Monday, 29 June 2020
  • Staged return of civil proceedings
    • Stage 1 will commence on Monday, 1 June 2020. The commencement dates of stages 2 and 3 will be determined by the prevailing health advice
  • Matters will be case managed to ensure the minimum number of people in the building and within each courtroom
  • Hybrid hearings, utilising the court’s audio visual links and in person appearances will occur. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the judicial officer hearing the matter
  • The start and finish time will be communicated three business days ahead of the court hearing by the court registry. Matters will be staggered at 20 minute intervals
  • Duty Registrars services will continue to be ‘digital first’ offering services via email and telephone. Face-to-face Duty Registrar services will recommence when the public registry reopens. Further announcements will follow regarding the reopening of the public registry
  • As the Court slowly and safely reopens its courtrooms, all reasonable steps and precautions will be taken to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 including:
    • staggered courtroom start and finish times, commencing at 9am and sitting up to 5pm
    • new jury selection procedures
    • temperature checks for court users
    • visual guidance in courtrooms to follow physical distancing requirements
    • hand sanitiser stations
    • increased cleaning and disinfecting, focusing on high traffic areas
  • Arraignments List - Procedural Directions
    • No appearances, in person, until further notice. Practitioners and accused will appear via AV link
    • Parties are encouraged to consider whether a Judge Alone Trial is feasible
  • From 23 March 2020, all Probate List cases and family provision applications will be case managed by Justice P Hallen as the Succession Judge. No changes to the current listings or to lodgement of new cases
  • Court of Appeal – in addition to filing physical Appeal Books and White Folders, parties should also file electronic copies on USBs, CDs, DVDs or via email. Contact Registry to arrange delivery
  • Common Law Duty List – no in person hearings unless otherwise approved by Chief Justice. Matters to be dealt with via telephone or AV link, or in chambers where appropriate. 
  • Documents to be provided by email, except for lengthy documents which can be provided in hard copy to be arranged with Associates
  • Equity Duty List Matters to be dealt with via telephone or AV link. Applications for urgent matters may be made to Associates via email 
  • Commercial, Technology & Construction and Commercial Arbitration Lists, (if not dealt with on consent) will be dealt with on papers unless a hearing is deemed necessary. Hearings will be conducted via telephone or AV link
  • Court of Appeal – practitioners should no longer provide hard copies of authorities, these should be provided electronically by email
  • Corporations List will continue to be available for urgent matters. Appearance by AV link or telephone, only in person for exceptional circumstances with leave of Chief Justice or the Chief Judge in Equity
  • In the Real Property List parties must confer in advance of listing date and make every effort to agree upon suitable consent orders, which can be made in Chambers. Otherwise parties must submit proposed order to the Associate in advance
  • From Tuesday 24 March 2020 no personal appearances in any matters unless in exceptional circumstances with leave from the Chief Justice or head of jurisdiction
  • Documents must be submitted via Online Court, E-Subpoena or Online Registry 
  • Documents may only be sent by email where facilities do not currently exist for online submission . Details for email contacts will be provided via Court website
  • Public Registry will be closed from Tuesday 24 March 2020 
  • Face-to-face duty registrar services will be suspended. Telephone appointments will continue
  • Face-to-face Court annexed mediations suspended from Monday 23 March 2020. Mediations can proceed by teleconference
  • Court will review operations with a view to maintaining open justice, consistent with current health advice
  • Registrars lists to be conducted by AV link or online
  • New jury trials suspended until further notice. Existing trials to be completed

District Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From 15 June 2020 the Court intends to lift the temporary suspension of jury trials in some District Court venues. The recommencement of jury trials in mid-June will be confined to a limited number of court rooms
  • All court participants are required to comply with NSW Health advice on social distancing
  • Procedure for Jury Empanelment in the Downing Centre will use two adjacent courts with specialised AV facilities to maintain social distancing
  • All court participants, including jurors and counsel will be screened on entry into the building 
  • Pre-trial directions, readiness hearings and case management procedures have been put in place to ensure that all trials are ready to commence as close to the listed day as possible. 
  • Parties will be required to certify that all pre-trial issues have been identified and ruled upon before a jury is empanelled
  • On and from 1 June 2020, there will be some changes to policy regarding personal appearances
  • Where the Court’s policy permits a personal appearance in court, this does not mean that lawyers are obliged to attend court in person. The Court continues to encourage lawyers to use the virtual courtroom
  • Criminal jurisdiction (other than jury trials). In-person appearances will be permitted in:
    • Appeals from the Local Court;
    • Matters for sentence;
    • Judge alone trials;
    • Pre-trial argument;
    • Pre-recorded evidence hearings; and
    • Contested applications for bail or contested changes in bail conditions
  • Civil jurisdiction – In contested hearings where there are parties and witnesses to be called to give evidence, it will no longer be the Court’s general policy that the hearing proceed by the use of a virtual courtroom
  • This easing in the Court’s general policy so as to allow in-person court appearances is subject to the discretion of a judge to limit the number of persons in a courtroom
  • Limits on the number of people in a courtroom and social distancing measures will be adhered to
  • The District Court intends to lift the temporary suspension of jury trials in some, but not all, venues from 15 June 2020. 
    • Including a limited number of courtrooms in the Sydney, Parramatta and the Newcastle District Courts.
    • Court venues and courtrooms will comply with social distancing requirements
  • Satisfactory Arrangements for a Defendant to appear remotely:
    • Where a Legal Representative makes arrangements for a defendant not in custody to appear in the office or chambers of the legal representative this will be satisfactory
    • Please note that Legal practitioners are strictly prohibited from providing the courts Virtual Court dial in numbers to the defendant personally
    • A self-represented defendant not in custody may appear via telephone in some matters
  • The temporary suspension of jury trials is being reviewed each month and will continue until at least 31 May 2020
  • Court will continue to hear all criminal matters, with the exception of new criminal jury trials, where the defendant is in custody
  • The temporary suspension of hearing criminal matters where a defendant is not in custody will be lifted on 4 May 2020 for matters where the defendant's lawyers are able to make arrangements for the defendant to appear remotely. This will also apply for self-represented defendants. 
  • Civil Jurisdiction
    • Matters will proceed on allocated dates. Parties wishing to vacate a hearing must do so by Notice of
    • Motion with an Affidavit. Dates will only be vacated where there are very good reasons
    • Matters before the Judicial Registrars will continue to be managed in the Online Court
    • Matters before the Civil List Judge will be conducted by telephone
    • Matters before Assistant Registrars will be dealt with by email
    • Mediations before Assistant Registrars will be conducted by telephone
    • Proceedings listed for Hearing will be allocated to a Judge and will proceed by Virtual Courtroom
  • Media may access Virtual Courtrooms online. Instructions on how to access on Court’s website
  • From 1 April, applications to vary bail will be dealt with in chambers. Applications by the defendant, and consent or opposition by the prosecution to the variation, is to be emailed. Only in compelling cases will a hearing take place, which will be via AV link
  • From Monday 30 March the Court will conduct hearings as much as possible through AV link
  • From 1 April 2020 new Judge alone trials, sentencing hearings, Local Court Appeals, arraignments and readiness hearings, where the defendant is not in custody will be temporarily suspended
  • The Court will continue to hear criminal matters where the defendant is in custody as much as possible
  • Registry will notify parties to matters that have been suspended and will advise of new listing dates which will be after 1 May 2020
  • Practitioners are encouraged to notify the Court of any urgent criminal matters where the defendant is in custody
  • Current jury trials and Judge alone trials to continue 
  • No new trials in either the criminal or civil jurisdictions are to commence today
  • Exceptions for new sentence matters or appeal matters in which defendant is appearing via AV link or otherwise authorised by Chief Judge
  • Criminal trials which may proceed by Judge alone or in which there are pre-trial issues to be determined are to be stood over until Wednesday 25 March 2020 
  • All other criminal trials are to be vacated and given dates after October 2020 
  • Readiness Hearings to be conducted by AV link
  • General civil list and motions list managed by judicial registrar to be conducted online or by telephone

Local Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement 

Measures:

Chief Magistrate’s Memorandum No. 13 COVID-19 Arrangements:

  • This memorandum replaces all previous COVID-19 memoranda (1-12)
  • These measures will take effect on and from 3 August 2020
  • All COVID-19 measures currently in place will remain until 3 August
  • The Local Court is taking the final step towards normalisation of listing arrangements
  • Relisting previously abandoned defended hearings involving firstly persons in custody; then part heard and domestic violence related proceedings and lastly the remaining general matters is proceeding

Appearances:

  • Appearances from custody in interlocutory phases or bail proceedings are to be by Audio or AV Link
  • Wherever possible defended hearings involving persons in custody should be conducted by Audio or AV Link
  • A legal representative or unrepresented defendant may advise the court by email or in writing of a plea of guilty or a plea of not guilty. This will be taken to be a physical appearance

Defended Hearings Procedure:

  • Where a plea of not guilty is entered the Court will make orders for service of a brief of evidence. The court is to be provided with a Notice of Listing and an estimated length for the hearing
  • If there is a failure to serve a brief and no reasonable justification is given for such failure the court will list the matter for hearing

Matters in which a brief of evidence is not required:

  • Where no brief order is mandated the matter will be allocated a hearing date on entry of the plea of not guilty
  • Where appearance is by email or in writing the estimated length of the hearing and any unavailable dates is to be provided
  • The court will not adjourn proceedings for the purpose of representations being made to the prosecution. This is to be done between the return date to fix a hearing date and the subsequent hearing date allocated 

Physical appearance:

  • If a matter is not progressing satisfactorily the court will require the attendance of the defendant or their legal representative in person
  • In matters for finalisation where the defendant is legally represented both the legal practitioner and their client must appear in person unless the offence is a fine only offence
  • For Domestic Violence application proceedings the attendance of the person in need of protection in any application brought by Police is not required at an interlocutory stage of proceedings
  • Physical appearance of the legal practitioner and the defendant is required at Committal Proceedings when entering pleas for trial or sentence in all strictly indictable offences or offences in which an election has been made to proceed before the District Court

Civil proceedings:

  • Notices of Motion may continue to be dealt with via teleconference where facilities allow
  • In Small Claims matters parties may continue to appear via telephone if facilities allow 
     
  • Re-listing of non-custody defended hearings in some matters
    • Priority in the allocation of hearing dates will be given to matters identified as domestic violence proceedings
    • Matters that already have hearing dates allocated after 31 July 2020 will remain on dates allocated on and from 3rd August 2020
    • Individual courts will identify Domestic Violence matters before their court previously listed as a defended hearing during the period 23 March-31 July 2020 that involve a defendant at liberty who is subject to charges that are Domestic Violence proceedings
    • These matters are to be listed for a Status Mention during the week commencing 22nd June 2020
    • A Notice of Readiness is to be completed as far as is able and be furnished to the Court at the Status Mention
    • October is to be used for the finalisation of matters for sentence and list work. No defended hearings are to be listed during October 2020 without the approval of the Chief Magistrate at locations listed on Court’s website
    • Some Courts will begin listing defended matters for hearing beginning on 3rd August 2020. Practice Note 1 will apply as currently drafted 
  • Arrangements for the listing of defended hearings previously abandoned where the accused is in custody:
    • Individual Local Courts are to identify such matters pending before their Court
    • These matters are to be listed to fix a hearing date. Status Mentions can be listed in the week commencing 9 June 2020. Where possible hearing dates should be given in July – August 2020
    • The court will not direct that a defendant in custody appear in person at a Status Mention
    • Legal Practitioners are expected to be ready to proceed without undue delay
  • Contested proceedings not involving the calling of witnesses may be brought before the court and be listed for hearing
  • From 22 June 2020 all bail applications, including Release applications and applications for Review of Bail are to be made to the Court before which the proceedings are pending
  • From 18 May 2020 matters involving defendants on bail may be dealt with to finality at a number of Local Court locations where there is a co-location with the District Court
  • From the beginning of August for the rest of the year there is considerable time available for the listing of defended hearings should that opportunity arise
  • The Court has released a Notice of Readiness for defence and prosecution. The completed Notice of Readiness is to be filed not less than 28 days prior to the date to which the pending defended proceedings have been adjourned
  • From 1 April to 1 May 2020 AVO hearings:
    • ADVO proceedings with related CAN will be adjourned until CAN listing date
    • ADVO without CAN adjourned for no less than 3 months
    • Provisional orders may be listed up to 6 months from date of order
  • Urgent AVO applications will still be accepted. Applications to be emailed to the Court, which will assess urgency 
  • Private applications for AVOs – persons encouraged to seek remedies from the Police, where this is not possible contact Registry
  • Appearances by persons in custody to be by AV link
  • No prisoner will be taken to a Court
  • It will not be possible to hear defended hearings where defendant is in custody
  • Any hearings listed (both Criminal and Civil) in which the defendant is NOT in custody listed from 23 March 2020 to 1 May 2020 to be vacated and listed for mention in the week of the 4 May 2020. If a change of plea is indicated, may be listed earlier to be dealt with
  • List matters which are not listed for hearing to be dealt with electronically
  • Those who have recently returned from overseas, have flu-like symptoms or have been in close contact with a suspected or diagnosed case of COVID-19 are not to attend Court
  • First return dates with self-represented litigants may be dealt with by email, along with requests for adjournments
  • Self-represented defendants can (on fist occasion only) contact the court to request an adjournment or enter plea via email or written notice
  • Self-represented defendants can enter a plea of guilty by email or in writing and will not be required to attend for sentencing unless magistrate considers that is absolutely necessary
  • Not guilty pleas may be entered by email or in writing
  • Return dates and fixing dates for hearing to be dealt with in the absence of the parties
  • Proceedings where the defendant does not respond will be adjourned until June
  • Applicants for domestic violence orders do not need to attend police applications unless the proceedings are fixed for hearing
  • Where proceedings are listed for hearing, parties to notify the court if there is a change of circumstance (guilty plea / withdrawal of proceedings) which removes the need for attendance
  • Civil notices of motion and review list to be conducted by teleconference, with argument limited to 15 minutes
  • Small claims to be heard by teleconference

Children's Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement 

  • Judicial Officers will resume travel to some Children Court circuit locations from 6 July 2020
  • First appearance bail proceedings will no longer be conducted in hub locations from Monday 22 June 2020
  • Urgent care applicaitons will no longer be conducted in hub locations from 6 July 2020
  • Hearings currently listed from Monday 4 May 2020 are to be listed for a Readiness Hearing to determine how the matter might proceed safely
  • The conduct of care hearings are suspended until at least 1 May 2020 unless a hearing can be conducted on the papers or a part-heard case can be concluded safely
  • Urgent care applications where a child has been removed or assumed into care will continue to be heard at Parramatta Children’s Court until further notice
  • Directions lists will continue
  • Lawyers for the applicant are to contact all other parties, propose directions or orders and attempt to achieve consent, then email the Court a summary
  • If a party disputes the proposed directions or orders, this may in writing via email or orally. The Court will determine the matter on written submissions (via email) or via AV link (for oral submissions)
  • The Court will receive unsworn affidavits and may receive unsigned documents if it is not possible to get electronic signatures
  • Documents to be filed should be emailed to Registry
  • Criminal proceedings listed between Tuesday 24 March and Friday 1 May will be vacated and listed for call-over after 1 May 2020 
  • Part heard matters may continue at the discretion of the presiding judicial officer
  • Any applications to relist for bail variation, release, variation of orders, hearing on the papers or further directions should be made via email to relevant registry
  • Where defendant is in custody matters may be heard by telephone or AV link if the accused is legally represented
  • Where defendant does not have legal representative, matters will be adjourned for 4 weeks
  • Lists scheduled in the Care jurisdiction will continue. Parties should not attend court premises wherever possible
  • Travel of judicial officers for circuit sittings is suspended. Judicial officers will appear at circuit locations by AV link from other courts

Coroners Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement 

  • From 1 June 2020 physical attendance at courts at the FMCCC will be permitted.
  • Court proceedings may continue to be heard using technology to enable remote appearances
  • Everyone entering the FMCCC foyer will be screened and have their temperature taken. 
  • Entry may be denied and there will be strict limits on the number of people allowed in each court
  • Up to 30 June 2020, only Court matters that can be conducted using technology to allow parties, witnesses and families to appear will continue. 
  • All other inquests in that period will be adjourned to a later date. Families and parties are being notified by the Court
  • All inquests scheduled in country locations in that period will be given new dates
     

NCAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From Monday 30 March 2020 the Tribunal will conduct all hearings in all Divisions and the Appeal Panel via telephone, AV link or on papers
  • No face-to-face hearings will take place without approval of the President
  • Priority will be given to urgent cases. Non-urgent matters will be listed in the last quarter of 2020
  • The Tribunal has outlined which matters are urgent in each list on their website
  • Documents may be filed via email and post
  • Water jugs and water glasses removed from hearing rooms 
  • Hearings closed to those who are not parties or representatives of established news-media organisations
  • Those who have recently returned from overseas, have certain symptoms or have been in close contact with a suspected or diagnosed case of COVID-19 are not to attend NCAT

Queensland 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From 27 July 2020 admission sittings in Brisbane will proceed with the applicant for admission appearing in person
    • Applicants wishing to take an oath must bring their own Bibles for that purpose.
    • Applicants should bring their own blue or black ink pen
    • Admissions at other locations may be by AV link or in person depending on the procedures in place
  • In consultation with Queensland Health, the Court has implemented a number of measures to reduce the risk of jurors being exposed to COVID-19
  • It is anticipated that the Supreme Court in Brisbane will begin to consider listing trials after the midyear court closure
  • Regional centres will also recommence listing jury trials to the extent possible in the second half of the year
  • It is contemplated that in most centres the listing of sentences for persons currently on bail and facing actual imprisonment can be increased on a gradual basis
  • Protocol for Applications applying from Monday 25 May 2020 until further notice
    • Wherever possible parties are encouraged to resolve matters by agreeing on orders by consent
    • Any consent orders are to be emailed to associates
    • If an appearance is required for an application, each party is required to provide details of the person who will be appearing by email to the judges’ associates
  • Changes to Informal Wills to apply to documents that are executed between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. Testator may execute documents in the presence of witnesses via AV link rather than in physical presence. Satisfactory evidence must be provided to registry as well as other criteria outlined on Court website
  • No direct counter services will be provided at Registry. Documents can be filed by post or placed in drop box in the foyer. Self-represented litigants may book appointments with registry staff to file documents
  • All new jury trials in the Supreme and District Courts are suspended. Existing trials to be completed
  • Parties are encouraged to take steps to agreeing on orders or directions. Agreed orders or directions are to be emailed to court
  • Applications to be emailed to Court. Will be heard on papers where appropriate or via telephone or AV Link. Only urgent applications will be dealt with in person
  • Appearances will be by telephone or AV link
  • Presiding judge will determine if matters can be conducted via telephone or AV link
  • Social distancing measures enacted for face-to-face hearings
  • Admissions ceremonies suspended. Admissions scheduled for 6 April cannot proceed. Applications for admission will be adjourned to a later date
  • Those who are unwell or have been overseas instructed not to attend a court location
  • Those not directly participating asked to consider whether attendance at court is necessary

District Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • In consultation with Queensland Health, the Court has implemented a number of measures to reduce the risk of jurors being exposed to COVID-19
  • In Brisbane, one District Court Judge will be listed to preside over jury trials in the week commencing 22 June 2020
  • Regional centres will also recommence listing jury trials to the extent possible in the second half of the year
  • It is contemplated that in most centres the listing of sentences for persons currently on bail and facing actual imprisonment can be increased on a gradual basis
  • No direct counter services will be provided at Registry. Documents can be filed by post or placed in drop box in the foyer. Self-represented litigants may book appointments with registry staff to file documents
  • All new jury trials in the Supreme and District Courts are suspended. Existing trials to be completed
  • Presiding judge will determine if matters can be conducted via telephone or AV link
  • Social distancing measures enacted for face-to-face hearings
  • From 23 March onwards, staggering of hearings at 30 minute intervals starting at 9.30, subject to judges deciding otherwise
  • If parties reach consents, notify Associate via email for matter to be heard on papers. Parties should seek matters to be heard on papers where possible, or via telephone or AV link. Face-to-face appearances will only occur where necessary
  • Parties are encouraged to seek administrative listing or delisting of sentence hearings and non-jury matters, where both sides are in agreement

Land Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

  • No direct counter services will be provided at Registry. Documents can be filed by post or placed in drop box in the foyer. Self-represented litigants may book appointments with registry staff to file documents
  • Land Court will continue to deal with matters as listed via AV link or teleconference. No parties need apply for leave of the Court to appear in this way
  • Social distancing measures will be enforced for in person hearings
  • All parties are requested to file documents by mail or email wherever possible

Magistrates’ Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The Remand List will now accept new matters to be listed from June 15 2020
  • From 14 June, Practice Direction 3 2020 is repealed. Practice Direction 5 2020 will take effect from 15 June
    • Physical distancing and staggered listing times will apply in courtrooms
    • Parties may apply to appear via AV link or telephone
    • Other than criminal trials, proceedings involving a person in custody will be via AV link unless otherwise ordered by a Magistrate
    • All other trials, committals, pleas, hearings and applications will proceed in person unless otherwise ordered by a Magistrate
    • Witnesses will appear in person unless otherwise granted leave to appear by AV link by a Magistrate
    • Parties may contact registry to obtain AV link or telephone details for a proceeding
    • For appearances via AV link or telephone all documents to be relied on must be emailed to registry
  • From 30 March 2020 no physical appearances in court except, by an Aggrieved in an urgent non-police, private domestic violence application, by the media, or with leave of the Court 
  • All matters to be conducted via telephone or AV link including persons in custody 
  • All documents to be emailed to the Court
  • Courts will hear:
    • Overnight custody arrests – both adults and children 
    • Urgent domestic violence applications including applications to vary domestic violence orders 
    • Urgent child protection applications including applications to vary existing child protection orders 
    • Bail applications including applications to vary bail 
    • Domestic violence applications currently before the Court which have not been considered 
    • Sentences, including lengthy sentences, where a person is likely to be released from custody 
    • Where a defendant is in custody- committal and summary mentions 
    • Urgent regional Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) matters heard in the Magistrates Court. 
    • Applications under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 
    • Civil applications dealt with on the papers 
    • Other matters where leave is given by a Magistrate
  • All other matters, civil and criminal, will be adjourned to a later date. Parties will be notified. 
  • Temporary domestic violence orders will continue for period of adjournment
  • Until further notice, all criminal matters where a defendant is on a Notice to Appear or bail will be adjourned to a date not less than 2 months from the first appearance
  • Urgent applications for leave to hear a matter may be made via email

Children’s Court

  • From 14 June, Practice Direction 4 2020 is repealed. Practice Direction 6 2020 will take effect from 15 June
    • Measures are the same as Practice Direction 5 2020 for the Magistrates Court
  • Same practices apply as in Magistrates’ Court, except for the below
  • Each of the Courts sitting will hear: 
    • Overnight custody arrests - children 
    • Urgent child protection applications 
    • Bail applications including applications to vary bail 
    • Sentences, including lengthy sentences, where a child is likely to be released from detention 
    • Sentences where any delay affects whether an offender is treated as an adult or child under Part 6 Division 11 subdivision 4 of the Youth Justice Act 1992. 
    • Where a defendant is in detention- committal and summary mentions 
    • Applications under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 
    • Other matters where leave is given by a Magistrate
  • All other criminal and child protection matters be adjourned on the papers by a Magistrate without appearance to a date to be fixed
     

QCAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (QLD), commenced on 28 May 2020
  • Provides that a lessor under an affected lease must not take a prescribed action (s 9 – includes recovery of possession, termination of the lease, eviction of the lessee etc.) on any of the following grounds during the response period (29 March 2020 until 30 September 2020)
    • a failure to pay rent for a period occurring wholly or partly during the response period;
    • a failure to pay outgoings for a period occurring wholly or partly during the response period;
    • the business carried on at the leased premises not being open for business during the hours required 
  • Non-urgent Minor Civil Dispute matters
    • Hearings are to be conducted by telephone or AV link, unless otherwise agreed by presiding member
    • For all matters requiring a hearing, applicants and respondents must comply with measure in Practice Direction 5 2020
    • Preferred method of filing documents is by email
  • Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy applications to which the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 applies
    • Hearings are to be conducted by telephone or AV link, unless otherwise agreed by presiding member
    • Applications must include; a completed COVID Tenancy Checklist, all material to be relied on and respondent’s address and telephone number
    • If a tenant is claiming to have suffered hardship due to COVID-19, they must include all evidence. 
    • Respondents must email relevant registry if participating in hearing
  • Retail Tenancy Disputes from 24 April 2020
    • New legislation provides for the appointment of a Small Business Commissioner, who may assist small business in reaching informal resolution for disputes relating to small business leases & administer a mediation process
  • Changes to QCAT Residential Tenancy Disputes from 24 April 2020
    • Moratorium on evicting a tenant who fails to pay rent if the failure relates to the tenant suffering excessive hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency, backdated to 29 March 2020
    • Residential Tenancy Authority may conciliate disputes about unpaid rent before any application to QCAT; and
    • Also provides greater protections for tenants experiencing domestic and family violence
  • From Monday 30 March 2020 Guardianship matters to proceed via telephone or AV link, documents to be filed via email
  • From Monday 30 March 2020 urgent Tenancy matters to proceed via telephone or AV link. Applications must include all relevant material. If applicant intends to appear in person, they must contact registry
  • All non-urgent Minor Civil Disputes from Monday 30 March will be adjourned
  • All other hearings in week of Monday 30 March will proceed via telephone or AV link
  • All other hearings listed between 6 April and 31 July will be adjourned
  • All Directions Hearings, Compulsory Conferences and Dispute Resolution hearings will be conducted by telephone
  • All other Mediations to be adjourned to a later date
  • Persons are not encouraged to appear in person at QCAT

Coroners Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement 

  • Coroners across the State have commenced scheduling and hearing inquest matters
  • The Court will operate within the Chief Health Officer guidelines regarding physical distancing. Limits on the number of persons in attendance in a courtroom will be enforced
  • Legal representatives and witnesses may apply for leave to appear by telephone or AV link
  • Participation in hearings for families will be facilitated, where possible, by telephone or AV link
  • The Court is managing any other inquest-related applications as necessary by email, telephone or AV link
  • All inquest hearings scheduled to commence in Brisbane before 30 June 2020 will be adjourned
  • Inquests across the rest of the State will also be adjourned to a date to be fixed after July 2020
  • The Court will continue to finalise findings and deal with applications via telephone or AV link

South Australia 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The Supreme Court Library is reopening from Monday 15 June 2020 with access by appointment. Appointments can be booked via email
  • From 9 June 2020, all listing practices, including mediations, will return to normal. All matters will be heard in court, unless other arrangements are made with chambers prior to the hearing
  • For matters up to and including 5 June 2020, the current protocols will continue to apply, except where they have been modified in consultation with chambers
  • Go-live date for civil electronic court management system (ECMS) will be on 18 May 2020
  • Affidavits must continue to be witnessed in person, with safety precautions in place
  • However, if this is not possible, a solicitor should exhibit the deponent’s unsworn affidavit to his/her own affidavit, with an undertaking to file the sworn original once it is possible to have it sworn
  • From Monday, 6 April 2020 the Courts Administration Authority will no longer be accepting cash or cheque payments. Payments can be made with a debit or credit card. Exceptions will be made for the payment of cash bails ordered in court
  • From Monday 30 March 2020 all Mediations will be postponed until June 2020
  • Documents to be filed via email or registered post
  • Directions hearings to be conducted by electronic audio communications unless otherwise decided by the judge. Any documents to be submitted by email 
  • Civil and Criminal Listing Conferences to be conducted by electronic audio communications unless otherwise decided by the judge
  • No changes to arraignments 
  • Applications for Permission to Appeal (criminal and civil – single judge) to be decided on papers. Written submissions to be provided by email
  • Applications for Permission to Appeal (civil – full court) – no changes
  • Magistrates Appeals – Parties required to provide full written submissions. Documents must be provided by email before the hearing. Hearing time will be shortened to reflect full submissions required
  • Sentencing Hearings – Parties required to take reasonable steps to minimise length of hearing, including providing factual summaries, chronologies and submissions the day before the hearing
  • Length of hearings will be limited to 2 hours. 
  • Defendants in custody will appear via AV link
  • Jury trials will be managed consistent with public health directions. Jurors will not be confined to jury box. Public access to courtroom limited. Jurors will retire to adjacent court room for breaks. Exemptions granted for jurors who are genuinely anxious about or physiologically vulnerable to COVID-19
  • Civil trials to continue. Parties to provide documents electronically wherever reasonably practicable. Counsel required to consider measures to expedite hearing or limit hearing to truly contested issues. Counsel to raise with the Judge if safe distancing practices or other public health practices have limited their capacity to properly prepare for the trial
  • Public encouraged not to attend court
  • Possession matters (except where order for possession sought) or matters under Corporations Act 2001 (except for winding up applications) to be dealt with in same way as directions hearings
  • Settlement conferences to be held at alternative venues
  • Mediations postponed unless all parties consent to mediation taking place
  • Admissions ceremonies cancelled until further notice. Certified applicants will be admitted. Contact Court to arrange taking the oath and signing the Roll

District Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From Monday 1 June 2020, all listing practices, including settlement conferences, will return to normal.  All matters will be heard in court, unless other arrangements are made with chambers prior to the hearing
    • Parties and practitioners are expected to observe social distancing requirements
    • Parties are not to physically approach court staff in the court
  • For matters up to and including 29 May 2020, the current protocols will continue to apply
  • Jury Trials in Adelaide - The District Court now proposes to bring forward the recommencement of jury trials, for a small number of matters, to the second week of July 2020
    • The Court will communicate with the parties of those jury trials identified to commence in July
  • Criminal Matters from 8 May 2020. Jury Trials and Circuits:
    • The Mount Gambier Circuit in July will proceed as a normal circuit with jury trials. Country circuits thereafter will also proceed as normal circuits with jury trials
  • Matters that are already listed for trial by judge alone or preliminary hearing from 1 July 2020 onwards will retain their current trial dates. The Court will continue to see if some trials can be brought forward
  • Any election for a trial by judge alone, where the matter is already listed for trial by jury, should be made by filing and serving the usual application
  • Parties with matters listed for second directions hearing callovers in May, June and July 2020 will be contacted, with a view to dealing with individual matters administratively, including new elections for trial by judge alone, vacating and setting further trial dates
  • From 11 May 2020 - All non-contentious directions hearings will be done via email:
    • Adjournments will be by email
    • If substantive orders are required, parties are to send in consent orders
    • If parties are intending to adjourn a matter or seek orders by consent they should advise the Masters’ clerks by COB the day before the hearing by emailing chambers
  • Settlement Conferences currently listed will be held between the parties by telephone or other agreed method, without court involvement
  • Affidavits must continue to be witnessed in person, with safety precautions in place
  • However, if this is not possible, a solicitor should exhibit the deponent’s unsworn affidavit to his/her own affidavit, with an undertaking to file the sworn original once it is possible to have it sworn
  • All matters before District Court Masters for the 4 weeks commencing 14 April will be:
    • All non-contentious directions hearings to be conducted via email. All adjournments and consent orders via email
    • If parties cannot agree on consent orders, a telephone link will be arranged for hearings. If this is not possible, only as a last resort, will an in-person hearing take place observing social distancing measures 
    • Currently listed settlement conferences may be conducted via telephone or AV link without court involvement. Parties are to advise chambers of the outcome
    • No documents are to be handed up in court
    • Parties are to do their utmost to resolve arguments and if not, consider whether they can limit the argument to submissions on the papers
  • From Monday, 6 April 2020 the Courts Administration Authority will no longer be accepting cash or cheque payments. Payments can be made with a debit or credit card. Exceptions will be made for the payment of cash bails ordered in court
  • Documents to be filed via email or registered post
  • Public encouraged not to attend court
  • New jury trials suspended on 16 March. Existing jury trials to continue at discretion of presiding judicial officer
  • Judge alone criminal trials, pre-trial argument, bail applications, guilty pleas, arraignments and civil trials unaffected. Court is looking to bring forward trial dates for judge-alone trials from later in the year.
  • New applications for election for judge-alone trial may be dealt with administratively, and if granted, an early trial date will be considered
  • Not guilty arraignments to be listed with a view to minimising the number of people in court at any one time. Accused in custody to appear by AV link unless parties notify the court otherwise. Counsel encouraged to wait with their client outside the courtroom until the matter is called
  • First directions hearing callovers cancelled
  • Guilty plea arraignments will be listed with view to minimising the number of people in court at any one time
  • Sentencing to be conducted by AV link if defendant in custody unless request for defendant to appear in person
  • Non-contentious directions hearings before Masters to be done by email
  • Masters hearings to be conducted with 1.5m social distancing rule, and parties encouraged to contact the court to arrange possible telephone hearing in contentious interlocutory matters
  • Settlement conferences to be held at alternative venues
  • Practitioners instructed not to come to court if they have fever, flu-like symptoms, have returned to Australia in last 14 days or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case
  • Practitioners vulnerable to infection to contact the court to make alternative arrangements

Environment, Resources and Development Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures: 

  • All listing practices will return to normal including conferences.  
  • All matters will be heard in Court, unless other arrangements are made by or with chambers approval prior to the hearing or conference. 
  • Requests for administrative adjournments and other requests must be received at least two business days prior to any hearing or conference
  • Parties and practitioners are expected to observe social distancing requirements. 
  • Previous advice by the Registrar in relation to minimizing attendance at the Registry for filing of documents is hereby rescinded

Magistrates Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From Monday 15 June 2020
    • Directions hearings will be conducted administratively either by email or phone
    • Parties in minor civil actions are to appear in person at Court unless granted leave to appear via phone
    • Parties may opt to appear by phone on applications listed for argument
    • Settlement conferences are to be held between the parties by phone and/or at an alternative venue (not the Court precinct) prior to the date listed
    • If a party wishes to be heard on a ‘for mention only’ date they are to advise the Registry by 4.30 pm the day prior to the hearing
    • The appellant is required to attend in person for Drivers Licence Appeals
  • Social distancing, administrative adjournments, appearance of practitioners by AVL / phone and custodies via AVL, will continue for the foreseeable future
  • From 9 June 2020, Court will begin to reinstate lists and increase the number of matters before the court
  • From June, Court plans to resume circuits (except APY lands where arrangements are still being finalised) and Regional Managers will make arrangements with stakeholders to advise of arrangements
  • If attending Court, allow extra time to be processed through security
  • Court encourages court users to avoid attending any Magistrates Court registry in person
  • From Monday 20 April 2020 all documentation should be lodged via online portals, email or post 
  • Courts will allow requests to appear via telephone or AV link. Requests to be made via email
  • Individual magistrates will decide whether to hear sentencing submissions by phone
  • Administrative adjournments will be allowed where parties agree. Requests to be made via email
  • Defendants in custody will appear via telephone or AV link
  • Most circuit courts will be cancelled. See Court website for full list
  • All non-essential access to courthouses will be restricted
  • All reports and written submissions must be tendered to Court electronically
  • Some different measures in place for individual magistrates’ courts. See Court website for full details on each court
  • From Monday, 6 April 2020 the Courts Administration Authority will no longer be accepting cash or cheque payments. Payments can be made with a debit or credit card. Exceptions will be made for the payment of cash bails ordered in court
  • Courts will continue to run overnight custody lists, bail applications, major indictable lists and Family Violence lists
  • The first return and general lists will be vacated and fresh dates given to defendants who already have received a summons
  • The matters vacated from general lists in April will be moved into July. May will go into August and June into September.  Parties will be given a new date
  • Upon written application to the Registry, defendants wishing to finalise their matters by way of guilty plea will be given a date and time
  • No documents to be handed up in court
  • All necessary documents must be emailed to the relevant registry and other parties by 3pm the business day prior to hearing 
  • Practitioners instructed not to come to court if they have fever, flu-like symptoms, have returned to Australia in last 14 days or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case
  • Practitioners vulnerable to infection to contact the court to make alternative arrangements
  • Parties and practitioners to maintain at least 1.5m distance from court staff and each other
  • Directions hearings to be conducted by email or phone
  • Applications listed for argument may be conducted by phone
  • Conciliation conferences to be held at alternative venues or by telephone
  • Civil trials to proceed as normal except for 1.5m social distancing and restriction on handing up documents
  • Greater use of administrative adjournments
  • Treatment Intervention Court program modified to reduce social contact, with group activities suspended.
  • Abuse Prevention Program under the Family Violence Court suspended. Assessment interviews will take place by telephone. New people may be referred to the program, but it will not start until program recommences

Youth Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From Monday, 6 April 2020 the Courts Administration Authority will no longer be accepting cash or cheque payments. Payments can be made with a debit or credit card. Exceptions will be made for the payment of cash bails ordered in court
  • Trial books and applications to be made electronically via email
  • Practitioners instructed not to come to court if they have fever, flu-like symptoms, have returned to Australia in last 14 days or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case
  • Practitioners vulnerable to infection to contact the court to make alternative arrangements
  • Parties and practitioners to maintain at least 1.5m distance from court staff and each other
  • No documents to be handed up in court
  • Criminal matters may be administratively adjourned on consent. Parties to contested adjournments may apply to appear by phone or AV link
  • Care and Protection Interlocutory Hearings are not being automatically adjourned, but may be adjourned on application. Parties may apply to be heard by AV link
  • Care and Protection applications to be lodged electronically
  • No change to trial proceedings, but presiding judicial officer to decide how trial should proceed
  • Leave may be granted for witnesses to appear by AV link or telephone 

SACAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From Monday, 6 April 2020 the Courts Administration Authority will no longer be accepting cash or cheque payments. Payments can be made with a debit or credit card. Exceptions will be made for the payment of cash bails ordered in court
  • Reception is closed for face-to-face services
  • Documents are to be lodged via email
  • All offsite hearings and visits suspended
  • Requirement for physical attendance at hearings suspended from Monday 23 March, with majority of hearings to be conducted by AV link or telephone 
  • SACAT may require some matters to proceed in person, with hearings conducted in accordance with public health information and available social distancing
  • Matters that can be deferred will be identified and relevant parties will be contacted
  • All non-essential meetings, presentations or training will be conducted via telephone, AV link or postponed

Western Australia 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Jury trials in criminal proceedings will resume from the week commencing 20 July 2020
  • Measures will be taken to ensure social distancing for jurors
  • Court of Appeal
    • In criminal appeal hearings where all parties are legally represented, counsel and one instructing solicitor for each party may appear in person at all hearings
    • Offenders will continue to appear by video link
    • In civil appeal hearings counsel and one instructing solicitor for each party, or a self-represented party, may appear in person at all hearings
    • Social distancing must be adhered to at all times
  • Supreme Court – General Division
    • Civil proceedings that involve witnesses giving oral evidence may be listed for hearing by the judicial officer concerned in the usual manner (previous direction in these matters is now revoked)
    • Civil trials will be conducted, in the ordinary course, with the attendance of counsel, solicitors and parties in person. Social distancing must be observed
    • Wherever possible, contested chambers hearings and General Division appeals (civil and criminal) will be conducted in person. Attendance by telephone may be arranged upon prior request
    • Directions hearings, case management conferences and strategic conferences will continue to be conducted by telephone
  • It is expected that, subject to final confirmation, formal admissions ceremonies will resume on 7 August 2020
  • Filing of appeal books in the Court of Appeal pending the establishment of elodgement and efiling:
    • The appellant must file at the Court of Appeal Office one hard copy of the white, blue and green appeal books. No requirement to provide an additional three hard copies of the appeal books
    • A copy of the appeal books must be made available to the Court by sharing a link by email to a Dropbox account or to a OneDrive folder
    • The appellant must still comply with the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal) Rules 2005
  • All jury trials listed to commence in April, May and June 2020 are vacated and will be listed for a status conference in July 2020
  • Trials by judge alone listed to commence in April, May and June 2020 will continue as listed
  • Any application for trial by judge alone will be heard and determined as a matter of priority. These trials will be listed to commence in May or June 2020
  • Chief Justice has clarified that the prohibition on public gatherings of more than 2 people does not apply to Courts and Tribunals, as they are essential services. However, Courts have taken measures to limit the number of people, observe social distancing and hygienic practices
  • Civil proceedings will still be conducted by telephone or AV link where possible
  • New jury trials suspended. Judge alone trials not affected
  • People with flu-like symptoms or who have traveled overseas in the last 14 days directed not to enter Court precincts. Parties and practitioners affected by this direction to contact the associate of the presiding judicial officer
  • Recommendation that only practitioners, parties, witnesses and media attend hearings. General public asked not to attend
  • No in-person filing of documents in the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court Registry. Page limits previously imposed for documents to be filed by email or fax machine suspended
  • Practitioners and parties seeking to inspect documents produced under subpoena must make arrangements to avoid unnecessary attendances at Court building
  • In-person appearances at appeal hearings suspended. Appeals to be conducted by telephone or AV link. Offenders in criminal appeals will appear by AV link or, if necessary, phone
  • In appeals that involve calling witnesses, only counsel and self-represented parties must be present in the courtroom. Social distancing measures will be applied. Witnesses must appear by AV link from a remote location
  • In-person appearances at status conferences and directions hearings suspended. Status conferences and directions hearings to be conducted by telephone or AV link
  • Public access to Court of Appeal limited to sitting in upstairs gallery. Well of the court limited to judges, personal staff of judges and any necessary security
  • Directions hearings, case management conferences and strategic conferences to be conducted by telephone. Delivery of judgments to be conducted by telephone or on the papers
  • Contested chambers hearings and General Division appeals to be conducted by telephone or on the papers
  • No new mediation conferences other than in exceptional circumstances (e.g. plaintiffs suffering from dust diseases). Mediations may be conducted by telephone or in larger mediation rooms to ensure appropriate social distancing
  • Civil trials before judges and criminal trials before judges alone continue, but only in courtrooms that can ensure appropriate social distancing. Otherwise they will be vacated
  • Documents other than exhibits not to be handed up in open court save in exceptional circumstances. Documents to be provided electronically before the hearing
  • Formal admissions ceremonies to be deferred. Urgent applications for admissions may be dealt with by a single counsel moving all admissions, with only applicants to attend the hearing

District Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Jury trials in criminal proceedings will resume from the week commencing 20 July 2020
  • Measures will be taken to ensure social distancing for jurors
  • Criminal Trials – the following applies from 6 April
    • All circuit trials and trials listed in Perth up to 3 July 2020 will be vacated and adjourned to a callover on 1 July 2020 for mention. Accused on bail will have their bail administratively extended to that date
    • The court will not generally conduct judge alone trials in substitution for vacated jury trials other than on application by accused in custody in exceptional circumstances
    • Parties may appear by AV link in most matters. If in-person attendance is required, parties must observe social distancing
    • Lists will be staggered 
    • Documentation must be filed electronically
  • Civil Trials
    • All civil trials listed for up to 3 July 2020 will be vacated except in exceptional circumstances
    • A callover will be conducted on 20 April 2020 of vacated trials. Each matter will be adjourned to a mediation
    • No new trials will be listed prior to 30 October 2020
    • All appeals will proceed via telephone
    • All other appearances before the court will be by telephone
  • Entry requirements - Only people who have involvement in a proceeding; require face-to-face services of the Registry; have the prior approval will be permitted entry to the District Court; or are representatives of new-media organisations
  • Chief Justice has clarified that the prohibition on public gatherings of more than 2 people does not apply to Courts and Tribunals, as they are essential services. However, Courts have taken measures to limit the number of people, observe social distancing and hygienic practices
  • Hearings will be conducted via telephone or AV link where possible. 
  • Those in custody will not be brought up or AV linked unless unrepresented
  • Where in person hearings continue, social distancing measures will be implemented 
  • All vacated matters will be listed for Compulsory Case Conferences 
  • New jury trials suspended. Judge alone trials not affected
  • Pre-trial conferences may be conducted off-site with the agreement of all parties
  • Sentence mention list to be broken into small groupings. Practitioners may appear by telephone. Accused on bail may answer bail by attending practitioner’s office and practitioner confirming client’s attendance, unless there is an issue with continuing bail or surety
  • Court users with COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure, or who have recently travelled overseas or have contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case should contact the associate to the presiding judge on whether attendance is appropriate. Where possible, arrangements will be made for telephone or AV link attendance
  • Recommendation that only practitioners, parties, witnesses and media attend hearings. General public asked not to attend
  • No hard-copy filing of court documents. Documents to be e-filed or sent by email
  • Copy documents will not be accepted during hearings

Magistrates' Court

 annoucnmentLatest announcement

  • Court listings will return to normal effective from 2 June, 2020
  • Where a party does not wish to appear in person (due to self- isolation or falling into a “high risk” category), they may notify the Court in writing and request to appear by telephone link
  • Chief Justice has clarified that the prohibition on public gatherings of more than 2 people does not apply to Courts and Tribunals, as they are essential services. However, Courts have taken measures to limit the number of people, observe social distancing and hygienic practices
  • Any person experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms and has travelled overseas or has been in contact with a confirmed or unconfirmed case of COVID-19, is directed not to enter the Court precincts. Instead, they must ring the Court to request that the hearing be adjourned
  • The Court recommends that only legal practitioners, parties, witnesses and media should attend court hearings. Other members of the public are requested not to attend.
  • People in the court building must comply with safe hygiene rules including hand washing, 1.5m social distancing, and hygienic approach to coughing / sneezing and disposal of tissues
  • Registry will remain open, but all parties are strongly encouraged to lodge documents electronically using the Court’s Electronic Document Management System (“EDMS”).
  • Where possible, documents should not be handed up to the judicial officer. Documents should be submitted electronically
  • At the discretion of judicial officers, hearings other than trials may be conducted by telephone.
  • Parties may reach an agreement whereby the accused is not required to attend court. 
  • Trials will continue as listed
     

WASAT

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Chief Justice has clarified that the prohibition on public gatherings of more than 2 people does not apply to Courts and Tribunals, as they are essential services. However, Courts have taken measures to limit the number of people, observe social distancing and hygienic practices
  • WASAT continuing to operate
  • Hearings and mediations will be conducted by telephone or AV link. Only in exceptional circumstances will face-to-face hearings occur
  • All persons instructed not to enter tribunal premises if they are unwell, have recently returned from overseas or been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Documents to be lodged by email, post or fax and not in person
  • Priority will be given to Guardianship and Administration Applications or matters deemed urgent by Judges or Senior Members
  • Mediations and hearings deemed non-urgent will be vacated until a future date

Tasmania 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Matters may be heard via AV link or telephone 
  • Judges of the Criminal Court of Appeal or Full Court need not sit in together in one place nor in the courtroom
  • Sentences may be delivered via AV link
  • Criminal Registry – those on bail must still turn up to Court. Any cases listed under ‘Bail For Consent’ have been adjourned to a different date
  • As much as possible, cases will be heard via telephone or AV link
  • Bail applications to be made via email. Defendants in custody will not be brought to Court, unless otherwise directed by a judge
  • Judges will continue to hear guilty pleas. Including those in custody and on bail. Arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis
  • Otherwise steps will be taken to identify and adjourn as many cases as possible
  • New listings will be communicated via email
  • Judges may conduct directions hearings via telephone
  • Jury trials will not resume until at least 21 July 2020
  • Those in custody will appear via AV link where necessary
  • All filing of documents to be done electronically by email to the court using PDF format
  • Full court appeals will be subject to telephone directions hearings. Parties to consider appearances by AV link and full written submissions 
  • Civil trials to be subject to telephone directions hearings. Parties to consider the use of written witness statements and written submissions, as well as the use of AV link for witness evidence, oral submissions or cross-examination
  • There will be no civil jury trials until further notice
  • Probate Registry remains open and is only accepting documents by mail or Document Exchange
  • No jury trials to commence for at least 4 months
  • Other cases including guilty pleas, bail matters, appeals, pre-recording of evidence and civil cases to proceed, with steps take to avoid the need for people to come to court and protect against risk of infection when at court

Magistrates Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • 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
  • The Court will continue to sit in both Burnie and Devonport
    • From Monday 4 May 2020 the Burnie Magistrates Court, will be open to the public.
    • People with matters listed before the Court may still appear by audio or AV link, subject to any direction of the Magistrate
  • Proceedings in the Magistrates Court may be via any form of audio or AV link, and at times may not be in open court
  • Magistrates will preside over after hours courts at weekends, starting on Saturday 18 April 2020. Two magistrates will sit each weekend day
  • Weekend after hours courts will be held by AV link
  • Parties (including defendants in custody) may appear by telephone or AV link. Parties must provide contact details at least 2 days before hearing date
  • Some matters may be adjourned until after 1 July 2020
  • Priority will be given to hearings where defendants are in custody
  • Lodgement of documents to be done by email to relevant registry
  • Bail applications and variations may be heard by telephone or AV link, or emailed to relevant registry (for non oral applications)
  • Family Violence Order applications, Court Mandated Diversion, Mental Health List and Contest Mention Lists to continue via telephone or AV link
  • Youth Justice and Child Protection to continue via telephone or AV link. Priority given to matters where young person is in custody 
  • Traffic not guilty hearings and Commonwealth matters are suspended. Defendants will be advised or a new date
  • Restricted Licence applications that have been listed will be adjourned until after 1 July 2020
  • Civil Court Listings to be conducted by telephone or AV link 
  • Any urgent matters must be accompanied by a note setting out why it is urgent 
  • Directions Hearings, Mediations and Conciliation Conferences to be conducted by telephone or AV link. Registry will contact parties to arrange this
  • Civil Hearings and Interlocutory applications etc. to be adjourned to a date to be determined by registry

ACT 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • Admissions ceremonies 
    • 17 April 2020 admission ceremony postponed 
    • The Court will process urgent applications
    • A matter will be considered urgent if the applicant has an offer of employment 
    • An applicant may file an affidavit setting out the urgent circumstances and annexing a supporting letter from their employer/prospective employer via email
  • Any person who meets the guidelines for self-isolation or quarantining must not attend court premises. Any person who does not have immediate business at court (except for one support person for defendants/witnesses and journalists) must also not attend the court premises
  • All documents (except the original will) in the following probate applications: Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration (with will or without will) and Reseal of Foreign Grant are to be lodged with the Court via email
  • Where an original will is required, the original will is to be lodged by post or by placing in the post box located in the Court’s foyer
  • Anyone required to self-isolate should not attend court precinct. Including individuals on bail, summons or subpoena. Such people must contact registry to make other arrangements
  • Critical documents to be filed electronically via portal or via email (if unable to access portal). New practice note provides details on critical and non-critical documents and e-filing guidelines
  • Registry will not accept over the counter documents unless the person filing documents cannot access email or they are Court of Appeal appeal books
  • Recipients of critical documents via email are to acknowledge receipt of documents via email response
  • Registry will advice parties of “appearance dates”
  • Mediations and Criminal Case Conferencing will proceed as usual
  • Magistrates’ Court appeals will be conducted via AV link
  • Criminal and civil applications to be conducted via AV link
  • Jury trials to continue
  • Viewing subpoena material by appointment only for matters to be heard in the next 4 weeks. Only two people in viewing room at a time. Appointments made over the telephone with Registry
  • Registrar’s lists to be conducted by AV link
  • Court functioning with measures in place to adhere to government advice on social distancing

Magistrates' Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From 2 June 2020 the court will resume its usual business with all hearings in person subject to the following exceptions:
    • Where a matter has been adjourned with the next appearance to be by telephone or audio-visual link, the matter will proceed in that way unless the parties contact the court and request personal appearances
    • Applications for bail and mentions for people in custody will be considered with legal representatives in person and defendants appearing by AV link or telephone
    • Matters which have been administratively adjourned or stayed without a date will proceed when the court advises parties of a new date
    • Some civil lists will continue with all appearances via Webex or telephone
  • Any person who meets the guidelines for self-isolation or quarantining must not attend court premises. Any person who does not have immediate business at court (except for one support person for defendants/witnesses and journalists) must also not attend the court premises
  • From 30 March 2020 parties may apply to have urgent matters heard sooner
  • All other parties to matter must be copied in on applications. Parties will be advised of outcome via email or telephone

Civil Matters 

  • Some matters listed before 1 July 2020 will be vacated. Parties will be notified
  • Some lists will be heard via telephone or AV link

Family Violence and Personal Protection Order 

  • Applications will continue to be processed via email.
  • Final hearings before 1 July are vacated
  • Preliminary conferences up to and including 1 May 2020 will be vacated

Adult Criminal Matters

  • Documents to be filed by email or post, or in urgent matters hard copies can be left in post box at Court
  • Defendants in custody to appear via telephone or AV link
  • Matters before the Court on summons where the defendant is not in custody, not on bail and not scheduled to appear before the court for sentence will not proceed
  • Final hearings and breach lists before 1 July are vacated 
  • Defendants excused from appearing in Mentions and Pre-Hearing Mentions, unless entering a guilty plea which will be done by telephone or AV link
  • Criminal Party Conferences postponed until 1 July 2020
  • Documents to be filed with relevant registry electronically or via email

Children’s Court 

  • Criminal same arrangements as adult criminal matters apply
  • Children’s Court Civil – Case Conferences to proceed via telephone
  • All Children’s Court Care listing hearings and final hearings currently listed to occur before 1 July 2020 are vacated. The Court will inform parties in due course of future listing dates. 

Coroners Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • New Practice Direction taking effect from 6 April 2020
  • 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
  • No new matters will be listed for hearing before 1 July 2020
  • 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

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • ACAT counter is closed
  • No face-to-face hearings will occur
  • Current listings will continue unless otherwise specified for conferences, mediations, directions hearings, return of subpoenas, interim hearings and hearings 
  • These listings will be via telephone or AV link
  • New listings will continue for: 
    • urgent applications 
    • mental health applications
    • guardianship and management of property applications
    • energy and water hardship applications
    • some residential tenancy applications
    • urgent or essential directions hearings 
    • some applications in the Registrar’s list 
    • some other matters with approval of Case Managing Member or the Registrar
  • Otherwise, there will be no new listings before October 2020
  • If you need to inspect documents or subpoenaed material contact the Tribunal to organise this
  • Most civil dispute applications received after 2 April will be scheduled for an initial directions hearing in October 2020 (or later)
  • Documents can be lodged by post, in a letterbox at the Tribunal or via email
  • Some matters may be heard on papers only
  • Instruction to people to stay home if they are unwell, have recently been overseas, have COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a confirmed case. Such people must ask to attend by telephone or ask for an adjournment
  • Water not provided in hearing rooms 
  • Applications continue to be lodged in the usual way. But those who are unwell may ask for options to lodge by email or by online form.
  • Parties may ask for hearings to be conducted on the papers

Northern Territory 

Supreme Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • The Supreme Court will resume the conduct of jury trials from Monday, 22 June 2020
    Any difficulties with witnesses subject to travel restrictions in will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis at pre-trial hearings
  • Persons in custody will continue to appear by AV link except at trial. A party who wishes the accused to appear in person may submit a brief outline by email to the Presiding Judge’s Associate
  • Pre-trial hearings, mentions and directions hearings will revert to face-to-face hearing from Monday, 1 June 2020. A party who wishes the matter to proceed by AV link or telephone rather than face-to-face may submit a brief application by email to the Presiding Judge’s Associate
  • Registries will re-open on 15 June
  • The Temporary Practice Direction for electronic filing of lodgement in criminal matters will continue with amendments to give practitioners the option of filing or lodging in that form.
  • The Temporary Practice Direction providing for electronic filing in civil matters will continue until the commencement of electronic filing under Odyssey (currently scheduled for October 2020)
  • Admission ceremony scheduled to be held in the Supreme Court on 5 May 2020 has been cancelled
  • Applications for admission will continue to be processed and heard separately before a single Judge
  • From Wednesday, 1 April 2020 the public facing counters in Alice Springs, Supreme Court Civil Registry and Sheriff’s Office will be closed. Registry will continue to provide services via telephone and email
  • All new jury trials until 5 June 2020 are suspended. Current jury trials where a jury has already been empanelled will continue
  • Any matters that do not require empanelment of a jury will continue as listed
  • Registry will contact parties in relation to suspended trials to organise pre-trial hearings, mentions and directions hearings
  • Where possible, these hearings will be conducted by telephone or AV link
  • People advised not to enter court if they meet screening criteria for COVID-19
  • Judge’s Associate will contact parties one week prior to listing to advise of AV link or telephone hearing details 
  • In criminal matters, accused is excused from attending if represented
  • Parties wishing to proceed face-to-face to email Judge’s Associate explaining reasons for that position, and judge will decide whether counsel should appear in person
  • Associate Judges lists to be conducted by telephone (excluding criminal callover)

Local Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

Measures:

  • From 1 July the Local Court will again hold proceedings in the Circuit (Bush) Courts, subject to the cancellation of Biosecurity Act restrictions
  • From 18 May physical court appearances will resume with court cells reopening for some matters in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs. Physical distancing rules apply
  • Court Registrar and front counter services will resume
  • Tennant Creek Local Court is due to resume operations on 1 June
  • From 1 July non-custody hearings will recommence and courts will run proceedings in Circuit Courts 
  • Some changes made in recent weeks will remain, including e-filing of documents and the hearing of bail applications on country. Consent applications will be heard in Chambers
  • Non-custodial hearings will be vacated and listed for Case Management Inquiry (CMI)
  • The rescheduling only affects non-contested matters where nobody is in custody awaiting a court hearing
  • In Darwin April Hearings are vacated and listed for CMI on 22 June, 2020. May hearings are vacated and listed for CMI on 23 June. June Hearings are vacated and listed for CMI on 24 June
  • In Katherine non-custody contested hearings in April and May are vacated and listed for CMI on June 22, 2020
  • Similar arrangements are being made for matters in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek
  • All existing bail conditions and interim domestic violence orders are continued
  • Changes to court processes have been translated into various Aboriginal languages, which can be accessed via Court website
  • All circuit court services suspended. Planned to resume on 1 May 2020 
  • Remandees from remote areas will be held in local communities rather than transported to major centres. Will then appear by telephone or AV link
  • Those currently on remand will be dealt with in major court centres, with witnesses appearing by AV link or telephone
  • E-filing and appearances by telephone and AV link fast tracked
  • Mentions and pre-trial hearings to be held by AV link where possible

Children's Court

annoucnmentLatest announcement

  • 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

annoucnmentLatest announcement

  • Effective immediately, NTCAT will commence creating new listings for all matters that had listings cancelled as a result of the 26 March 2020 measures
  • Effective 18 May 2020, the requirement for remote participation at NTCAT listings will cease
  • Parties will be expected to attend in person at the tribunal for listings (hearings and compulsory conferences)
  • NTCAT will continue to observe and enforce any current social distancing or other relevant safety requirements
  • Parties wishing to participate by remote means will need to make an application for NTCAT’s permission. Legitimate concerns about COVID-19 may be raised in support of such an application
  • NTCAT will recommence processing accepted Initiating Applications that were placed in abeyance due to the 26 March 2020 measures
  • NTCAT will resume accepting and processing Initiating Applications for new matters
  • NTCAT remains unable to accept hard copy documents. Any documentation (including an Initiating Application) must be submitted by electronic means
  • Effective immediately, physical registries in Darwin and Alice Springs will be reopened
  • All MHRT members will sit remotely via AV Link