Assistance with online hearings

24/03/2020

COVID-19: A message from President Tim Game SC

As expected there has been a substantial increase in the use of online hearings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All courts have a slightly different approach. Much of the technology is being used in courts for the first time.

To assist, our Innovation and Technology Committee will provide email support to members having connectivity issues. (Contact: technology_assist@nswbar.asn.au). This assistance is available to facilitate members ensuring that the technology is workable and the connection as efficient as possible if appearing via an online connection.

We will also share FAQs and documentation to help them connect to courts and tribunals variously via their preferred means: Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Zoom and others.

In this regard, I also note that the Federal Court is conducting hearings using Microsoft Teams technology and has released:

• a special measures information note; and

• a practitioners' guide to the use of this technology.

Third, Today I issued a media release in relation to the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 which is currently before Parliament.

The Bar Association was consulted on the Bill and opposed several measures. However a number of safeguards suggested by the association have been adopted.

Finally, members by now should be aware of the New South Wales Bar Association's consolidated 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 has been updated in terms of recent developments and includes today's updates from:

Members are advised in this regard that, although the Bar 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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