President's Message


NSW Supreme Court Moves Towards Resuming Face-To-Face Hearings

The Chief Justice has today issued a media release indicating that some face-to-face civil hearings will resume in the Supreme Court on 1 June 2020, followed by the resumption of criminal jury trials from 29 June 2020. The media release sets out the steps that will be taken by the Court to ensure a measured and staged return to in-court hearings in a manner that protects the health and wellbeing of all court users.

It is indeed heartening to learn that, during the period of health-related restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has continued to operate essentially at its normal capacity, with Judges hearing close to 20 matters per day, and Judges and Registrars, dealing with case-management, hearing over 500 matters per week.

The Chief Justice also thanks the legal profession for its efforts in assisting the Court to remain almost fully operational during this period.

Correspondence from the Commonwealth Attorney-General regarding application of the JobKeeper program

The Association has received a further response from the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, regarding the application of the JobKeeper program.

The Attorney has advised that the ATO has introduced an alternative turnover test for eligibility for the JobKeeper program. Under this alternative test, the ATO will accept an accruals basis of accounting for revenue purposes. This approach may provide evidence of a decline in turnover at an earlier point of time.

The Attorney has also indicated that the Government will provide an alternative decline in turnover test for the eligibility of special purpose service entities that provide employee labour to group services.

More information on alternative turnover tests can be found here

The Association will update members on these changes as further information comes to hand.

COVID-19: Information for attending Court

The New South Wales Bar Association’s consolidated guide to COVID-19-related court arrangements has today again been updated in terms of recent developments, and includes today's announcement from the Chief Justice outlined above.

Members are advised in this regard that, although the Bar Association is regularly updating the COVID-19 page of its website as information comes to hand, please refer to 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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