COVID-19: Court Updates
- 29 April 2021: Special Measures Information Note: Appeals and Full Court hearings (SMIN-5)
- 27 January 2021: QR code systems being introduced in Court buildings
- 2 April 2020: Special Measures Information Note on Admiralty; Guide to virtual hearings (SMIN-2)
- 31 March 2020: Special Measures Information Note (SMIN-1) (updated)
- 23 March 2020: Special Measures Information Note (SMIN-1)
- 18 March 2020: Update
- 16 March 2020: COVID-19 - Court arrangements
- Special Measures Information Note: Appeals and Full Court hearings (SMIN-5) (PDF, 609 KB) has been issued.
As restrictions on public gatherings and businesses ease around Australia, state and territory jurisdictions have issued directions requiring businesses to maintain contact registers to enable health authorities to quickly identify and contact persons that may have been exposed to COVID-19.
The Court recognises the importance of contact tracing and early identification in the event of a COVID-19 exposure and the critical need to support all tracing processes.
To this end, a QR Code system and manual registers are being introduced as a means of registering public attendance in Court buildings. The registration and use of QR Codes are voluntary.
The QR Code systems chosen by the Court are those operated by the state and territory governments to ensure privacy concerns are addressed and will be used in every state and territory except Queensland which does not currently operate a government managed QR Code system.
- Special Measures in Response to COVID-19:
Admiralty and Maritime (SMIN-2) Warrants for the arrest of ships (pdf, 239 kb) has been issued
- A guide to virtual hearings and Microsoft Teams for practitioners and litigants (pdf, 325 kb) has been published.
The Special Measures in Response to COVID-19 (SMIN-1) Information Note (pdf, 239 kb) has been updated.
The Chief Justice has issued a Special Measures Information Note in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Information Note can be accessed from the Practice Notes page.
Further to the update posted yesterday, the Federal Court of Australia has now commenced communicating with all parties with matters listed for hearing in the upcoming months.
Parties have been requested to identify (with the assistance of the Court) opportunities by which listings may proceed either by way of telephone conference or other remote access technology. The Court is working to ensure that as many listings as possible are able to proceed. Matters may be able to keep the same date; they may not. They may be able to be done on the papers. These decisions will be based on information from litigants and considerations of workload and judicial availability.
To the extent that matters listed in the 4 – 29 May 2020 Full Court and Appellate sitting period are impacted by this approach, the Court will be in contact with the relevant parties over the next week.
The Court is not shutting down or vacating cases simpliciter. It is adjourning hearings in court so that the Court's workload can be managed safely and without interruption. The Court is trying to remain consistently operational by minimising the risk of closures, with all the attendant cost and inconvenience that would cause, in particular to parties and practitioners.
The first priority of the Court is the safety of litigants, practitioners and its judges and staff. The measures being adopted are intended to ensure that the Court remains open and functioning Court for litigants in this challenging period. This includes ensuring the necessary technology is in place to enable as many matters as possible to progress in a timely and effective way.
There will no doubt be some inconvenience for hearings that were scheduled in the coming weeks. The Court is seeking the co-operation of all parties and their representatives in working collaboratively to ensure the Court continues to be able to provide a safe, efficient and flexible service for parties over the coming months.
The Court has been monitoring the Government's announcements and advice concerning COVID-19 and its management, to ensure that arrangements are in place to mitigate any adverse impacts on our people and operations.
The Court is following the advice of the Commonwealth to focus on the minimisation of the spread of the virus in the community.
All people arriving in Australia from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Australian citizens and permanent residents and their immediate family members need to stay at home for 14 days.
- Foreign nationals must self-quarantine in a home or hotel for 14 days after entering Australia.
- Restrictions apply to foreign travellers from mainland China, Iran, Republic of Korea and Italy.
If you develop any symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) you should see a doctor for urgent assessment.
If the above applies and you have a matter before the Court or need to visit a court registry, please phone the National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000.
Information for Practitioners
If practitioners are involved in current proceedings before the Court that are impacted by COVID-19, they are encouraged to direct enquiries for assistance, such as necessary adjournments, variations to timetables or preparation for hearings, to the following Court representative:
Tuan Van Le
National Judicial Registrar
Phone: (03) 8600 3343