Health and safety in the courtroom

22/03/2020

COVID-19: A message from President Tim Game SC

The health and welfare of our members is the Bar Association's paramount concern at this challenging time. If a member appearing before a court or tribunal finds themselves in a situation where they feel that adequate care for their health and safety in accordance with health guidelines is not being taken or that their health may be at risk, they should immediately draw that to the attention of the court. Members should not be afraid to raise these issues with the court. We are assured that the courts are seeking to have in place safe working places for the profession and will appreciate matters being brought to their attention. You should also bring them to the attention of the association who can take steps on your behalf and on behalf of the profession.

Following this week's announcement of revised Local Court procedures by the Chief Magistrate, the Association has become aware of the disruption being caused to members' practices by the cessation of defended Local Court hearings where the defendant is on bail. The Association is considering ways to limit the impact of this change and I will keep members informed of progress in this matter.

In other news the President of the Workers Compensation Commission, His Honour Judge Gerard Phillips, has announced changes to minimise in-person proceedings in the Commission to take effect from Monday 23 March. The President's announcement can be viewed here

Finally, the New South Wales Bar Association has prepared a guide to the various COVID-19-related court arrangements in NSW and Federal Courts and Tribunals. The guide covers information for those attending court as well as up to date information on procedural changes being made in view of the coronavirus pandemic in the various jurisdictions. The guide will be updated on a daily basis.

Members are advised in this regard that, although the association is regularly updating its website and this point-in-time resource as information comes to hand, please always double-check the latest Court resources directly as developments are changing quickly at this time. Do not make any assumptions regarding your case without first doing so. Links to the various Court and Tribunal pages are provided in the body of the guide.


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