Response of Courts and Tribunal to COVID-19

COVID-19 has affected all walks of life, and the Courts and Tribunals had made various changes as issues surrounding COVID-19 have progressed. This page provides an update of the current stance of the Courts and Tribunals in which Chambers Russell Lawyers regularly conducts its practice, with respect to:

  1. Operation of the Registry;
  2. Filing;
  3. Signing of affidavits and documents;
  4. Subpoenas and inspection;
  5. Court listings; and
  6. Urgent matters and duty registrar services.

 

NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal

Operation of the Registry

Avoid attendance where possible.

Filing

The Tribunal is now accepting filing via email where a party is unable to use post.

Evidence

No change to ordinary rules.  

Subpoenas and inspections

There is no clear direction but recommend attempting access via contact with Registry.

Directions hearings and final hearings

From 30 March 2020, all stages of hearing to be conducted via telephone, audio visual link or on the papers. There is no commentary provided on what platform the audio visual link will occur. There is no face-to-face hearing without the approval of the President.

Urgent matters and duty registrar services

 

There is no clear direction. We recommend filing in the registry through a process serve if possible and additionally emailing the registrar. The Tribunal has indicated priority will be given to urgent cases. We recommend advising of the urgency in writing at the time of filing.

 

Local Court

Operation of the Registry

Email or telephone the Court before attending in person, to minimise face-to-face contact where possible.

Filing

File online where possible. Contact the Registry via telephone for other arrangements.

Evidence

No change to ordinary rules. 

Subpoenas and inspections

There is no clear direction but we recommend attempting access via Online Court.

Directions hearings and final hearings

For civil claims:

a)    appearance by way of telephone; and

b)    where arrangement not made, hearings to be vacated and listed for another date.

For criminal claims the directions vary depending on:

a)    legal representation;

b)    plea entered; and

c)    contact with the court before the date of hearing.

No hearing dates are being allocated in defended matters with a plea of not guilty for a period of three months.

Any defended hearings listed between 23 March 2020 and 1 May 2020 to be vacated and listed for mention in the week of 4 May 2020.

Urgent matters and duty registrar services

The Court is still accepting urgent proceedings. Where possible, email the Court beforehand regarding the application and explaining the urgency.

 

District Court

Operation of the Registry

Face-to-face services available only in circumstances were no other arrangements are in place. Recommended contacting the court beforehand.

Filing

No clear direction, but assumption that if face-to-face services are only available for circumstances where no other arrangements possible, file documents online where possible.

Evidence

No change to ordinary rules. 

Subpoenas and inspections

There is no clear direction, but we recommend attempting access via Online Court.

Directions hearings and final hearings

Personal appearances are being limited from 30 March 2020 with the implementation of a Virtual Court Room. Further information available in below links regarding the Virtual Court Room. Contact details for the Virtual Court Room are provided by the Court prior to the date of attendance.

 

Jury trials which presently have dates allocated are continuing, with all other criminal trials being vacated and giving hearing dated after October 2020. There are more specific arrangements in place for criminal matters depending on whether the Defendant is in custody or not.

Urgent matters and duty registrar services

There is no clear direction. We recommend contacting the Court noting the clear move away from personal attendance.

 

Supreme Court

Operation of the Registry

The public registry has been suspended from 24 March 2020.

Filing

All documents are to be filed via Online Court, E-subpoena and the online registry. Where facilities do not exist for documents to be delivered electronically, those documents can be filed via email.

Filing of all appeal books and white folders are to be done electronically with a physical copy still being required. 

Evidence

No change to ordinary rules. 

Subpoenas and inspections

Inspection by appointment only. Requests to be made by email.

Directions hearings and final hearings

The Court is requiring matters to be conducted via telephone or via virtual courtroom with a higher emphasis on parties communicating and coming to a consent position. The specifics of this differ from list to list.

Technology and Construction List

No longer being conducted in open court. The time in which to provide consent orders to the Court has been extended to 4:00pm on the day before the matter is heard.

 

If consent not reached parties are to provide a position paper by 12.00 noon on the day of appearance a brief position paper (one page for direction hearings and two pages for motions) identifying what is in dispute and the parties position on the issue.

 

A mutual range of hearing dates should be provided is a hearing date is requested.

 

All disputed matters will be determined on the papers unless a hearing is appropriate, whereby it will be conducted by way of audio link or video link.

Urgent matters and duty registrar services

Face-to-face duty registrar services have been suspended. Telephone appointments to continue.

 

Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court

Operation of the Registry

The public registry is closed. Contact via telephone and email only. Face-to-face may be arranged for urgent matters after telephone assessment.

Filing

Documents to be filed via eLodgment. If unable to use, documents to be sent via email to the registry. Limiting personal attendance for filing as much as possible.

Evidence

Electronic signing is allowed. Acceptance of unsworn affidavits to consider remote working arrangements.

Subpoenas and inspections

Access of subpoena documents to be done via the Registry with documents to be downloaded and viewed, subject to access orders.

Directions hearings and final hearings

The Court is requiring matters to be conducted on the papers, via telephone or other remote access technology. If attendance is otherwise required, the matter will be adjourned other than in exceptional circumstances and with the authorisation of the Chief Justice.

All matters listed for over half a day are subject to a triage and prioritisation process and will include consideration of reliability of proposed technology, document security, availability and timing of transcripts and the ability to live stream hearings.

The Court will be using Microsoft Teams as its remote accessing platform.

Urgent matters and duty registrar services

Duty judge and registrar contacts for urgent matters are available for email.

 

Resources

NCAT Material

Further information for people attending NCAT can be found here.

Temporary changes to NCAT as at 18 March 2020 can be found here.

Temporary changes to NCAT as at 17 March 2020 can be found here.

Local Court Material

The Local Court COVID-19 Homepage can be found here.

The Chief Magistrate's Additional Memo (Clarification) issued 26 March 2020 can be found here.

The Chief Magistrate’s Listing Adjustments issued 24 March 2020 can be found here.

The Chief Magistrate’s COVID-19 Directions can be found here.

District Court Material

The District Court Homepage can be found here.

The COVID-19 District Court update dated 30 March 2020 can be found here.

The District Court's Virtual Court User Guide can be found here.

The Updated Notice of Procedural Change dated 25 March 2020 can be found here.

The COVID-19 Update on District Court’s Operations dated 23 March 2020 can be found here.

The COVID-19 Announcement regarding jury trials dated 15 March 2020 can be found here.

The District Court Notice of Procedural Change dated 13 March 2020 can be found here.

Supreme Court Material

The Supreme Court List of Coronavirus Announcements can be found here.

Information for the Requirements for the Filing of Appeal Books and White Folders can be found here.

The Guidelines for Equity Duty List Matters (updated 27 March 2020) can be found here.

The Guide for Common Law Duty List Matters (applicable from 25 March 2020) can be found here.

Federal Court Material

The Federal Court COVID-19 Homepage can be found here.

The Federal Court Special Measures in Response to COVID-19 (updated 31 March 2020) can be found here.