Coronavirus impacts on court operations.

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.

We frequently update this page. However, users are encouraged to visit each jurisdiction's websites for the most up-to-date information on their practices.

Supreme Court

Latest announcement

13 October 2022 Operational Update – CovidSafe measures

Key updates:

  • The Notice to the Profession dated 3 March 2022 continues to apply.
  • Rapid antigen testing as a general measure for in person hearings ceases from 17 October 2022 but may still be used in certain circumstances.
  • A person with COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed to COVID-19 may be granted permission to attend hearings depending on necessity and a negative test result.
  • Mask wearing is strongly recommended for those attending Court. Certain circumstances involving larger groups (e.g. jury empanelment and admission ceremonies) will require masks from all participants.
  • Physical distancing is strongly recommended where possible, but conventional courtroom and jury room arrangements for all hearings and jury trials are in place. 
  • Up to date vaccination is strongly recommended.

5 September 2022  Criminal jury trials and other Criminal Division listings

Key updates:

  • Since March 2022, the Court has resumed jury trials at close to full capacity, with COVID safety measures in place. 
  • Fast-tracking of cases continues to be an option for all homicide proceedings. 
  • Since March 2020, trial dates have not been fixed until after the filing of the indictment, prosecution opening and statutory notices, and defence response. 
  • The Court is now in a position to move back to allocating a trial date at the first directions hearing for matters that have not come through the fast-track. 
  • The Court is currently working on a new practice note which will address future case management in fast-track and non-fast-track matters. 
  • Non-jury trial hearings, as well as bail and other applications, continue to be conducted either entirely remotely, as hybrid hearings or in-person. 
  • Jury trials and plea hearings have resumed at regional courts. However, regional court rooms continue to have reduced capacity to hear trials with multiple accused. 

3 March 2022 – Notice to the Profession

Key measures:

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

Latest announcement

17 October 2022 – In-person hearing protocol

This protocol outlines the arrangements and expectations for the COVID-19 pandemic from 17 October 2022 until further notice. It supersedes the Criminal Jury Trials – Rapid Testing Protocol, Civil Jury Trials – Rapid Testing Protocol, and the Non-Jury Matters – Rapid Testing Protocol.

Key measures:

  • Symptomatic testing – do not attend Court if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and have not tested negative on a RAT on the same day.
  • Masks must be worn in all public areas of the Court unless the person has a mask exemption.
  • Testing during multi-day trials – in trials exceeding three weeks, the presiding judge may direct participants to test at regular intervals not exceeding once every two days. 
  • Positive result – if any hearing participant returns a positive result, a juror should inform Juries Victoria and any other participants should inform the presiding judge’s chambers. 
    • Hearing participants must test negative before returning onsite. A juror’s positive result will likely mean that they will be discharged from the jury.
    • Subject to the presiding judge’s determination, all other participants may continue their involvement in the hearing provided they are not symptomatic. 
  • COVID-19 symptoms – if any hearing participant develops symptoms, they should undertake a test and inform Juries Victoria or the presiding judge’s chambers as soon as possible. 
    • Subject to the presiding judge’s determination, a hearing participant can attend the Court if they return a negative RAT.
  • Household contact – if a hearing participant becomes a household contact, they must inform Juries Victoria or the presiding judge’s chambers as soon as possible. 
    • The participant may attend Court with the presiding judge’s permission. 
    • The presiding judge may also exercise their discretion to require the close contact to return a RAT test before returning to Court, wear a KN95 mask at all times and notify the Court if symptoms develop. 
  • Voluntary surveillance testing – RATs will be available for participants in multi-day matters who would prefer to undertake voluntary surveillance testing for the duration of the hearing. These should be requested from the judicial support staff.

7 October 2022 – Notice to the Profession

From 17 October 2022:

  • Practitioners and court users will no longer have to undergo mandatory surveillance rapid testing before entering the Court.
  • However, practitioners and court users are not to attend Court if they are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19, until they return a negative rapid antigen test.
  • Masks will continue to be worn inside the Court building per existing arrangements.

14 October 2022 – Common Law Division

Key measures:

  • Filing – All documents should be electronically filed using the Court’s electronic filing facility, CITEC Confirm. 
  • Where possible, all subpoenaed material should be submitted and inspected electronically.
  • A party wishing to inspect subpoenaed material which has been produced in hardcopy to the Melbourne registry must make an appointment with the registry.
  • Directions hearings will continue to be conducted via videolink (Zoom) unless the presiding judicial officer requires onsite appearances. 
  • In-court hearings – the following proceedings in Melbourne can be heard in Court:
    • All matters involving contested oral evidence
    • All civil jury trials
    • Any trial where a party is self-represented
    • Where a party to the proceeding requires an interpreter to give evidence
    • Any trial or hearing where scarring is required to be inspected.
  • Views – applications for a view should be made to the trial judge. Where a trial judge considers that a view is required, it must be conducted under current COVID-19 restrictions. 
  • Remote hearings – the following proceedings will continue to be heard as remote virtual hearings:
    • directions hearings that do not involve contested oral evidence
    • Summonses that do not involve contested oral evidence
    • Mediations, judicial resolutions and case conferences
  • Melbourne jury trials – from 21 March 2022, the Court resumed jury trials in Melbourne.
  • Circuits – civil circuits will proceed in person for:
    • all jury trials
    • all other trials where there is contested oral evidence
    • any trial where a party is self-represented
    • where a proceeding requires an interpreter to give evidence
    • any trial or hearing where scarring is required to be inspected.

14 October 2022 – Commercial Division

Key measures from 1 June 2022:

  • Category A matters – trials and hearings listed for two or more days, any hearing involving contested oral evidence and judicial resolution conferences will be held in person
  • Category B matters – directions hearings (including pre-trial directions), applications (summonses and requests for interlocutory determination), trial assessments and enforcement proceedings will be held remotely
  • If a party considers that it is appropriate and in the interests of justice for a Category A matter to proceed remotely or for a Category B matter to proceed in person, that party must give notice of that request to the Court and the other parties and must provide brief reasons for the request.
  • Judgments will continue to be listed daily but delivered by email unless otherwise notified.
  • The Court's Non-Jury Matters - Rapid Testing Protocol applies to the Commercial List.
  • Filing - Parties are requested to maximise the use of the Court’s electronic filing facilities.
  • Subpoenas – Where possible, all subpoenaed material should now be submitted and inspected electronically via eCase.
  • Practitioners should follow the PNCI 9-2021 eCase electronic subpoenas guidelines for managing subpoena requests in eCase. 
  • Building Cases List – Applications will be conducted by eHearing or on the papers, as directed by the Judge in charge of the Building Case List in consultation with the parties.
  • Non-binding Neutral Evaluations (NNEs) – parties with listed trials may be offered an NNE by eHearing in lieu of the trials.
  • NNEs will be conducted by a judge or judicial registrar and typically will not require more than one day of eHearing.

9 September 2022 – Criminal Division

Key measures:

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

Latest announcement

10 August 2022 - Practice Direction 6 of 2022

Practice Direction No. 6 outlines arrangements that will apply from 12 September 2022.

  • Matters will continue to be heard both in person and online.
  • All online appearances must be conducted with audio-visual technology, appearances by audio alone are not compliant. 
  • Interpreters will appear in person or online as directed.
  • Regional court locations – the Court may direct that a practitioner who is not located in that region to appear remotely in any matter where that better facilitates access to justice.
  • Filing – all documents capable of being filed or communicated digitally must be filed or communicated digitally.
  • Counter service – persons who cannot comply with digital/electronic filing or communication may attend the relevant court registry for counter service.
  • All persons who attend court must wear a mask and follow directions under the Court Security Act 1980.

Criminal matters

  • Modes of appearance – represented accused and their practitioners may appear in person or online, or as directed by the court. Where an accused attends a court in person, their practitioner must also attend in person, unless otherwise directed by the Court.
    • All prosecution agencies are to attend court in person.
  • Mention hearings – may be listed online unless otherwise directed by the Court where the prosecution withdraws all charges.
    • Applications to adjourn mention hearings by the registrar may be requested at least 3 working days prior to the listed date. 
  • Plea hearings – including pleas proceeding on a mention date, may be listed in person or online or otherwise directed by the Court. 
  • Contested mention hearings – all parties and their practitioners save for accused in custody are required to appear in person at contest mention hearings in bail and summons matters unless otherwise directed by the Court.
  • Contests before a magistrate and committal hearings may be listed in person or online as directed by the court. 
  • Contested hearings before a judicial registrar – at the time of booking a matter, parties must seek direction from the Court on whether the matter will be heard online or in person. 
  • Unrepresented accused on bail or summons must appear in person at the relevant court venue at a first mention in bail and summons matters unless otherwise directed by the Court.
    • If the accused (who has not been directed to attend online) does not attend the court venue at which their criminal case is listed at the listed date and time, the matter may be heard and determined in the accused’s absence, or a warrant may be issued for the accused’s arrest.
  • Accused in custody are required to be brought physically before the court for first remand hearings, except where the accused consents to a remote appearance. 
  • Bail applications after first remand hearing will be listed with the accused in custody appearing via audio-visual link. Practitioners must appear in person unless otherwise directed. 
    • Second or subsequent hearings where an accused is in custody will proceed with the accused appearing via audio-visual link from a prison location. Practitioners must appear in person.
  • Judicial supervised hearings – including for CISP bail review, deferral of sentence and community corrections order judicial monitoring will be conducted in person unless otherwise directed.
  • The following criminal matters will be listed for online hearing unless otherwise directed:
    • Committal mentions where accused is represented
    • Special mentions where accused is represented
    • Applications where the accused is represented
    • Judicial registrar lists, except contested hearings
    • Parties may request the above matters to be heard in person. 

Family Violence

  • Family violence intervention order (FVIO) applications not made by police will be heard in person, with the respondent attending in person (not online).
    • Applicants may choose to attend the hearing in person or online and must indicate their preference at least 7 working days prior to the hearing date.
    • Applications may proceed on the papers where supported by an affidavit or declaration of truth.
  • Police FVIO applications and family violence safety notices (FVSN) will be heard in person with the respondent attending in person (not online). 
    • All affected family members (AFMs) must appear at the hearing unless they have communicated with police and the AFM agrees with the application and conditions sought. 
    • AFM may choose to attend in person or online and indicate their preference at least 7 working days prior to the hearing date.
    • Where an AFM is not appearing at the hearing, they must remain immediately contactable by police and Court on the listed date.
  • Police personal safety intervention order (PSIO) applications will be heard in person with the respondent attending in person. 
    • All protected persons must appear at the hearing. Where a protected person is not appearing at the hearing, they must still remain contactable by police and the Court on the listed date.
    • Where a protected person is appearing at the hearing, they may choose to attend either in person or online.
  • Non-police PSIO applications will be heard in person with the respondent attending in person. 
    • All applicants are required to appear at the hearing. Applicants may choose to attend either in person or online.

Civil matters

  • Applications, directions hearings, pre-hearing conferences, early neutral evaluations and judicial resolution conferences will be conducted online, unless otherwise directed.
  • Where a party cannot appear online or considers that a matter is not suitable for online hearing, they must request to attend in person by emailing the relevant court registry. 
  • The Court will fix directions hearing and call overs as required. 
  • Self-represented parties must attend final hearings in person unless otherwise directed.
  • All other final hearings will proceed in person or online as directed.
  • Summons for oral examination will be conducted in person at a proper court venue unless otherwise directed.

WorkCover and Industrial Division matters

  • WorkCover and Industrial Division urgent applications, directions hearings, early neutral evaluations, pre-hearings and mentions will be conducted online unless otherwise directed.
  • Where a party cannot appear online or considers that a matter is not suitable for online hearing, they must request to attend in person by email.
  • The Court will fix and conduct final hearing call overs in person or online as required.

Federal Jurisdiction matters

  • Will be conducted online unless otherwise directed. 
  • Any requests for in-person attendance should be made by emailing the relevant court registry.

Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal will hear applications in person or as otherwise directed, including on the papers, online or via telephone. 

Online Magistrates’ Court (OMC) List

  • The OMC is a separate online list presided over by a dedicated team of Magistrates that hears suitable matters wholly online.
  • For matters listed in the OMC, parties must appear via audio-visual link unless an application has been made to the OMC for an in person appearance, and that request has been granted, or as otherwise directed by the Court.
VCAT

Latest announcement

Measures:

  • You can go to VCAT if you have been advised that your hearing is in person, or you have business at the service counter.
  • Only parties, witnesses and support persons may attend a hearing in person.
  • Wearing a KN95 or surgical mask is a condition of entry, unless you have a medical exemption. You must wear a mask when you’re at VCAT. In hearing rooms, masks are recommended, but this is subject to the direction of the Presiding Member.
  • If your case is being heard by phone or videoconference, VCAT will contact you to let you know the scheduled time.
  • You may request to observe a hearing via phone or video conference by emailing VCAT one business day before a hearing date with the details of the hearing you want to attend. 
Children’s Court

Latest announcement

Measures:

  • The Court is hearing cases in person or remotely subject to the current Practice Directions.
  • All documents must be filed electronically with the relevant court registry.
  • Most criminal cases will be heard in person unless the Court directs a matter to be heard online. 
  • If the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing serves you with a child protection application, they will also tell you where and how the case will be heard.
  • Only the following people are permitted to physically attend the Children’s Court, anyone who is:
    • in immediate need of the face to face services of the registry;
    • admitted by direction of a registrar or a judicial officer of the Court;
    • a party to a proceeding;
    • a legal representative of a party to a proceeding;
    • a support person for a party to a proceeding (one support person per party); or
    • a representative of the media
  • The Court has issued Practice Directions No. 1 – 3 of 2022 in relation to the operations of each of its divisions, as summarised below.

Family Division

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

  • Unless otherwise directed by the Court, the following hearing types will be listed in the Online Children’s Court (OCC) at Melbourne and Moorabbin:
    • Mentions
    • Reserved submissions
    • Conciliation conferences and post conciliation mentions
    • Readiness hearings
    • Special mentions
    • Release of Children’s Court Clinic Report(s)
    • Applications for the release of subpoenaed material
    • Directions hearings.
  • Unless otherwise directed by the Court, the following hearing types will be listed at Court and require online attendance by the legal representatives and parties between 13 August 2022 to 2 September 2022:
    • Protection Application by Emergency Care
    • Breach by Emergency Care
    • Application for a new Interim Accommodation Order due to a proposed placement change
    • Application for an urgent interim variation of a Family Reunification Order
    • Interim Accommodation Order Contested Hearings
    • Final Hearings
  • At all remaining Court locations, hearings will be listed in accordance with local directions (other than Conciliation Conferences, which will be held online state-wide).

Criminal Division

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

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

Intervention Orders

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

  • Applicants who wish to apply for an intervention order should complete the relevant application form on the Children’s Court website. If an applicant cannot complete an application online, they may attend in person and will be assisted by a court staff member.
  • The OCC may be used for hearing cases.
  • Unless otherwise directed by the Court, applications for urgent interim intervention orders will be heard in the OCC or on the papers when supported by affidavit.
  • Between 13 August 2022 to 2 September 2022, all Family Division intervention order proceedings will be listed in the OCC, with legal representatives and parties required to attend online. 
Coroners Court

Latest announcement

Measures:

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

Latest announcement

Measures:

  • The High Court building in Canberra is open to the public during business hours.
  • The Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra Registry staff are currently working remotely. All enquiries should be made by email.
  • Documents to be filed electronically using electronic filing facility. Documents may be faxed or emailed to relevant registry where electronic filing is unavailable.
Federal Court

Latest announcement

Effective 10 November 2022, all Special Measures Information Notices in response to COVID-19 are revoked. 

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Latest announcement

7 November 2022 – Special Measures Notice: Hearing protocol 

This protocol applies to all hearings and other court events in the FCFCOA from 7 November 2022 and replaces the COVID-19 Hearing Protocol.

Key measures:

  • Attendance when COVID-19 positive – If a court user has tested positive within seven days of an in-person court event, they must notify the court as soon as possible and await direction as to the conduct of the matter. Electronic attendance will ordinarily be required unless an adjournment is granted. 
  • Social distancing – all court users are required to adhere to social distancing measures.
  • Face masks are optional in a court registry and are strong recommended where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Documents and tender bundles should be provided electronically prior to the hearing rather than in hardcopy.
  • Hearing and court events generally – for a hearing listed to proceed in person, a party seeking to appear electronically must make an application. It is a matter for each Judge to consider the individual circumstances of the case and decide how best to conduct a fair hearing.
  • Final hearings will be conducted in person before a local Judge unless otherwise directed. If it is listed before an interstate or non-local Judge, the hearing will be conducted electronically unless otherwise approved. 
  • Interim or interlocutory hearings before a local Judge will be conducted in-person unless otherwise directed. 
  • Other short hearings (e.g. first return hearings, directions and divorces) will be heard electronically unless otherwise directed by the Judge, with the exception of Compliance and Readiness hearings in family law which will ordinarily proceed in person.  
    • Short hearings and procedural hearings before a Senior Judicial Registrar, Judicial Registrar or Deputy Registrar will be heard electronically.
  • From 1 June 2022, bankruptcy lists are conducted in person.
  • Dispute resolution events are conducted electronically unless the registrar considers the matter requires an in-person conference.
  • Court children’s service events may be conducted in person or electronically depending on the type of report and nature of assessment. In general, assessments will be done in person. 

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

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

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

Latest announcement

Measures:

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

Latest announcement

10 October 2022 – Operation of Registrar Lists

  • From 17 October 2022, all directions hearings, call overs, mentions, special fixtures, examinations and mediations before a registrar will be held in-person.
  • The Court’s audio-visual links (video and telephone) will continue to operate and remain available for use in appropriate circumstances, to be approved by the registrar.

29 September 2022 – Ending of Supreme Court Covid-19 Protocols

  • From 1 October 2022, the Court’s COVID-19 protocols for civil and criminal matters will cease to operate.
  • Masks are no longer required in public areas including courtrooms unless you are a close contact of a person with COVID-19. The Court continues to encourage mask wearing in crowded places.
  • There will no longer be any requirement to provide proof of vaccination to enter the court building. 
  • The Court’s audio-visual links will continue to operate and remain available for use as appropriate and as determined by the list, trial or duty judge and registrars.
District Court

Latest announcement

4 October 2022 – District Court and Dust Diseases Tribunal COVID-19 update 

  • From 6 October 2022, face masks are no longer required in courtrooms or public areas, unless a court user is a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. A trial judge retains discretion to require face masks to be worn in the courtroom.
  • All requirements concerning rapid antigen self-testing under Criminal Practice Note 27 will continue until further advised.
  • The Court continues to encourage face mask wearing in courtrooms, jury assembly areas and jury rooms. 

2 May 2022 – Criminal Practice Note 27

Key measures from 2 May 2022:

  • The parties must strictly comply with case management orders made at Readiness Hearings.
  • The Sheriff of NSW will ensure that all members of the jury panels for trials in the Court consent to undergoing a RAT as required and have undergone a RAT.
  • The Crown is to file the form annexed electronically to the List Judge or Senior Judge advising whether counsel and instructing solicitors consent to undergo a RAT, no later than two days prior to the pre-trial callover.
  • The Defence is to file the form annexed electronically to the List Judge or Senior Judge advising whether counsel and instructing solicitors consent to undergo a RAT, no later than two days prior to the pre-trial callover.
  • Pre-trial callovers will continue to be conducted remotely unless the Court directs otherwise.
  • All court participants in jury trials and judge alone trials are required to undergo a RAT prior to the commencement of the trial and on every second day of the trial or as otherwise required by the Sheriff of NSW.
  • Where counsel and/or solicitors do not consent to a RAT, the trial may be vacated and relisted on a later date.
  • At trial, face mask wearing is mandatory for all court participants. This requirement is waived in certain circumstances.
  • Members of the public may not attend court in person. Should a member of the public wish to view a trial, attendance will be permitted by use of the virtual courtroom. The link to the virtual courtroom may be provided on request made by email to the trial judge’s associate.
  • A member of the media may attend Court in person. As is the case with all court participants, a member of the media is required to undergo a RAT prior to attending the Court and must wear a face mask while on the court premises.

28 February 2022 – COVID-19 update

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

Latest announcement

4 July 2022 - Chief Magistrates' Memorandum No. 28 COVID-19

These directions commence on 4 July 2022. Key measures include:

  • Civil matters in both the Small Claims and General Division will generally be dealt with remotely until the final hearing, unless the Court allows an in person appearance.
  • General Division final hearings will be heard in person unless the Court allows remote appearance.  
  • Criminal matters require appearances in person unless the court approves remote appearance. 
  • All appearances by persons in custody are to be conducted by AVL, unless listed for hearing or an order has been made to bring the person before the Court. 
  • Other matters – where ordered by the Court, defendants and their legal representatives may be required to appear in person. The Court expects that parties will only appear in person in limited circumstances.
  • General – Where court users are unable to attend court for health reasons, the court may adjourn proceedings or use AVL to enable participation.
Children’s Court

Latest announcement

24 June 2022 – Public Notice of Response to COVID-19 Pandemic No.15

Key measures from 28 March 2022 include:

  • All legal practitioners are to appear in person unless leave has been granted to appear by AVL.
  • Parties are to appear in person in:
    • Hearings
    • First mentions
    • Sentences
    • Replies to brief where a plea of guilty is to be entered and proceedings to be finalised
    • Applications for an order under the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020.
  • An accused detainee is to appear in person unless an exemption applies, the parties consent, or the court otherwise directs.
  • Defendants are otherwise excused from attendance if legally represented, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer.
  • Legal practitioners are to appear in person where their client wishes to attend in person except in exceptional circumstances. 
  • All care lists will continue to operate. 
  • The manner in which a hearing is to be conducted will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Education lists will continue to operate. Parties and their legal representatives are to appear in person unless leave is granted to appear by AVL.
  • Youth Koori Court – to operate in a manner consistent with the arrangements in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Where a party is concerned that a hearing delay is impacting the safety, wellbeing and welfare of a child, they should notify the Registrar and request the case by allocated a priority hearing date.
  • Dispute Resolution Conferences will be conducted in person unless otherwise determined by the Children's Registrar conducting the conference.
  • Matters requiring the preparation of a Youth Justice Background Report should be adjourned for two weeks where a young person is in custody and for six weeks where a young person is in the community.
Coroners Court

Latest announcement

10 October 2022 State Coroner’s Memorandum No 7

The following procedures will apply until further notice:

  • Where directed by a presiding magistrate, court users must wear a face mask. Any exception will be considered by the presiding magistrate. 
  • All parties, legal representatives and family members may apply to appear via AVL or audio link rather than in person. 
NCAT

Latest announcement
 

21 October 2022 – Changes to COVID measures at NCAT

  • NCAT is gradually resuming in-person hearings.
  • Check your hearing notice for whether your hearing will take place in person or remotely. 
  • Masks are no longer required for most NCAT divisions. People attending hearings in the Guardianship Division are required to wear masks when in a hearing room. 

Latest announcement

Queensland Courts will respond to and deal with the impact of COVID-19 in accordance with advice from health authorities. 

If you are required to attend Court, but have tested positive for COVID-19, you are encouraged to follow Queensland Health advice and contact the relevant court registry and await advice on what you are required to do. 

QCAT

Latest announcement

17 October 2022 – QCAT Practice Direction No. 10 of 2022

This Practice Direction is effective from 17 October 2022 but does not apply to guardianship matters. It revokes previous Practice Directions 1, 2, 3 and 4 of 2022.

Key measures:

  • Unless otherwise ordered, all directions hearings, compulsory conferences, mediations, expert conclaves and tribunal hearings will proceed in accordance with the QCAT Notice of Hearing sent to parties, or written directions given by the tribunal which serve as QCAT Notice of Hearing. 
  • If a proceeding is to be conducted by remote conferencing, a party must:
    • Arrange for representatives, witnesses and any other required person to have access to remote conferencing
    • Follow the tribunal’s instruments about how the remote conferencing will proceed
    • Explain to a witness giving evidence that the evidence will be given in recorded proceedings.
  • Regardless of how a proceeding is conducted, whether in person or by remote conferencing, a party who has a witness giving evidence by remote conferencing must ensure the witness has with them a copy of any statement the witness has given in the proceedings and any document the witness possesses which relates to their evidence. 
Supreme Court

Latest announcement

Arrangements from 4 January 2022

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

Latest announcement

Arrangements from 21 September 2022

  • Masks are no longer required in courtrooms while waiting for a matter to be called on. 
  • Social distancing should still be observed in the courtroom.
  • No documents are to be handed up in Court and should be lodged via the Court portal prior to the hearing. 
  • Parties are not to physical approach court staff in the Court. 
  • If a practitioner has a condition that makes them vulnerable to infection or they are generally concerned and do not wish to come into Court they should advise Chambers at least 24 hours prior to the hearing and make alternative satisfactory arrangements.
Environment, Resources and Development Court

Latest announcement

Measures:

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

Latest announcement

Arrangements from 27 October 2022

Attendance

  • If a party or practitioner does not feel safe attending at Court, they should advise registry no later than 2 business days prior to the day of the hearing and seek leave to appear at the hearing by phone.
  • Where possible, parties should lodge documents via CourtSA.
  • Court volunteer service is operating.
  • Justice of the Peace Service is operating.
  • School visits are operating in a restricted capacity from June 2022.

Criminal matters

  • Listings and trials are continuing as scheduled.
  • Defendants in custody will appear by AV link or telephone, including for trials and Treatment Intervention Court and Aboriginal Community Courts where appropriate.
  • At trial, prosecution and defence are to appear in person.
  • Circuits will continue and may be conducted by AVL.
  • Prosecution will appear in person in general lists. Requests to appear by AVL will be at the discretion of the individual magistrate. If the matter involves submissions, the magistrate may be inclined to allow permission if submissions have been delivered to the registry beforehand. 
  • Applications to appear by AVL or telephone are to be submitted by email to Registry or the chambers mailbox no later than two business days prior to the hearing.
  • A request to adjourn a major indictable matter without attendance of counsel is at the discretion of the magistrate and will require confirmation of the consent of MIBU (police prosecution) or the ODPP and must include the reasons for the adjournment.

Civil proceedings

  • Parties are encouraged to seek consent orders if appropriate. Emails for consent orders are to be received no later than 2 full business days prior to the day of the hearing. 
  • Requests for phone appearances are to be received no later than 2 full business days prior to the day of the hearing. 
  • Hearings and trials in all actions:
    • Subject to attendance at court directives, parties and practitioners are to appear in person at Court unless they are granted leave to appear by phone.
    • Investigation and Examination summons hearings will be conducted by telephone.
  • Mediations will be conducted in person where social distancing is possible. Alternatively, they will be conducted by phone or WebEx.
Youth Court

Latest announcement

31 October 2022 – Arrangements effective 1 November 2022 

  • From 14 October 2022, if you test positive to COVID-19 you are no longer required to isolate, but if you are unwell or have symptoms please do not attend Court. 
  • Any court user who tests positive to COVID-19 should not attend a court building for a minimum period of five days after testing positive, or until the acute symptoms have cleared, whichever is the latter.
  • After that time, court users who test positive are strongly encouraged to wear an N95 mask up to, and including, day 10 from the date of testing positive.
  • Documents should be lodged electronically via CourtSA portal.
  • Youths in custody will appear remotely, except for trials or sentencing matters.
  • For overnight arrest matters, all youths will appear remotely.
  • Family Conferences, Family Group Conferences and Education Family Conferences may be conducted by AVL.
  • At trial, prosecution and defence are to appear in person. 
  • Requests by a solicitor for permission to appear remotely will be at the discretion of the individual judicial officer.
  • Care and Protection, Adoption and Surrogacy proceedings will proceed as listed. Requests by a solicitor or party for permission to appear remotely will be at the discretion of the individual judicial officer.

Arrangements from 15 July 2022

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

Attendance at court buildings or at conferences

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

Arrangements for court proceedings and conferences

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

Latest announcement

Measures:

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

Latest announcement

Measures:

  • From 29 April 2022, all persons attending the Court should wear masks where social distancing is not possible. A judicial officer may require the wearing of masks during the course of proceedings.
  • From 3 May 2021 e-filing and e-lodgement using the eCourts portal is mandatory for all documents filed in civil appeals in the Court of Appeal.
  • From 10 June 2022, evidence of vaccination status to enter Court is no longer required as the Court and Tribunal Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions under the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) is no longer in force.
District Court

Latest announcement

3 August 2022 – Notice to Practitioners – Pre-trial conferences and mediations – COVID-19

  • Counsel must appear in person at all pre-trial conferences and mediations, unless otherwise ordered by a judge or registrar. 
  • Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms must not enter the court. In those circumstances, the following applies:
    • All pre-trial conferences and mediations will proceed at the time allotted. 
    • Counsel must as soon as practicable advise the associate so that arrangements may be made for attendance by video or audio link.
    • Parties and counsel who are not prohibited (under Public Notice 5) from entering the court must attend in person.
    • If the assistance of a Registrar is required and no legal representatives are permitted to attend in person, a solicitor nominated by all the parties is to telephone the pre-trial conference desk and request assistance.
    • Where the matter is resolved at pre-trial conference, the parties are to file settlement paperwork through the ECMS (eCourts portal).
    • If the parties agree to adjourn the pre-trial conference, a nominated party is to file a letter outlining the agreed adjournment date, or, where a date is not agreed, provide unavailable dates for the parties. The letter is to be filed through the ECMS.

10 June 2022 – Public Notice 5 of 2022 – COVID-19 

  • Counsel are to appear in person or may appear by video or audio link as directed by the presiding judge or registrar.
  • Any person who has COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 7 days must not enter the Court building.
  • A person's vaccination status to enter the Court building is no longer required.
  • If Counsel are not permitted to enter the building and they have a matter listed, counsel must advise the associate to the presiding judge so arrangements for video or audio link can be made.
  • Members of the public or other participants in a hearing may be directed not to enter a courtroom at the direction of the presiding judge or registrar.

Hearings (Other than trials and sentencing hearings)

  • Counsel are to appear in person or may appear by video or audio link as directed by the presiding judge or registrar.
  • All documents relating to the hearing must be filed electronically not less than two business days before the hearing.
  • Counsel in a criminal or civil matter who are appearing by video or audio link are to inform the associate to the presiding judge of their telephone number at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

Sentencing

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

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

  • Trials will continue to proceed wherever possible. Arrangements have been made for accused, counsel, parties, witnesses and any other participants for trial hearings to continue to appear in person as safely as possible.
  • Bespoke arrangements for a trial are at the direction of the presiding judge.

Public Access

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

Circuits

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

Latest announcement

  • Do not enter the Court building if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are required to self-isolate.
  • If you are unable to attend a hearing due to the above, please contact the relevant Court. 
  • All documents for lodgement should be presented for lodgement electronically via the eCourts portal.
  • Where a party does not wish to appear before the Magistrates Court in person (due to self- isolation or falling into a “high risk” category), they are encouraged to notify the Magistrates Court of their concerns in writing, and request to appear at the hearing by telephone link.
WASAT

Latest announcement

Measures as of 10 June 2022:

  • Do not enter the SAT building if you are required to quarantine or isolate or are unwell with flu like symptoms.
  • The presiding member will decide the manner in which final hearings are conducted (in person, by telephone or by video conference) depending on the nature of the matter.
  • Applications and other documents can be filed electronically through the eCourts portal or otherwise by email.
  • If parties are required to attend a mediation or a hearing in person, social distancing measures must be observed within the mediation or hearing room and all public spaces in the SAT.
Supreme Court

Latest announcement

7 September 2022 – COVID-19 precautions in the Supreme Court

  • Each judge will determine appropriate precautions for cases coming before them, depending on the circumstances of each case. 
  • People attending the Court will no longer be asked to reveal their vaccination status or provide proof of vaccination.
  • No one entering a court building will be asked any screening questions or undergo temperature checks.
  • Unless exempted by the presiding judge, every person in a courtroom must wear a face mask. 
  • As far as practicable, social distancing should be maintained.
  • Each judge will determine on a case by case basis whether practitioners, witnesses and others may participate by audio-visual link or by telephone. 
Magistrates Court

Latest announcement

Measures from 23 October 2022:

  • Please refer to the Tasmanian Government’s Coronavirus website for current public health advice to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Hand sanitiser is provided at points of entry and in court rooms

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

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

Latest announcement

The ACT Supreme Court has resumed normal operations for all matters.

Magistrates Court

Latest announcement

The ACT Magistrates Court has resumed normal operations for all matters.

Coroner’s Court

Latest announcement

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

Measures:

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

Latest announcement

Measures:

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

Darwin courts and tribunals are operating normally.

Supreme Court

Latest announcement

Measures:

  • The Supreme Court resumed the conduct of jury trials from Monday, 22 June 2020.
  • On 16 May 2022, the Court implemented the Supreme Court Jury Safety Plan outlining jury measures in light of the COVID-19 situation.
  • People in custody will continue to appear in court via audiovisual link, except during trial.
  • All documents required to be filed or lodged in criminal proceedings and bail matters must be filed or lodged electronically by email.
  • All documents required to be filed for civil matters must be filed electronically by email.
  • People advised not to enter court if they meet screening criteria for COVID-19
Local Court

Latest announcement

Measures:

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

Latest announcement

Measures:

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

Latest announcement

Measures:

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