President's Message


Supreme Court Protocol – Court Operations – COVID-19

Yesterday the Supreme Court published its new Protocol - Court Operations - COVID-19. The Protocol is intended to provide guidance to court users as the Court conducts a staged return to in person hearings, commencing with some civil matters returning to the Court from Monday 1 June 2020 and jury trials from Monday, 29 June 2020. As government restrictions are eased, the Court will make adjustments proportionate to the new level of restrictions.

The primary focus of the Supreme Court's Protocol is upon the health and wellbeing of court users, recognising the need to limit the number of people within the Court precinct. The Court will continue to monitor and assess matters before it, and the Protocol recognises that some matters may remain in the virtual courtroom environment and that others may involve a hybrid model, where part of the proceedings occur face-to-face within the courtroom, while other parts are conducted by virtual courtroom methods.

The Chief Justice has indicated that he regards the Bar Association’s Protocol for In-Person Hearings while Social Distancing, which was published last week, as being consistent with the Supreme Court’s Protocol.

I encourage members to carefully read and have regard to the Supreme Court’s Protocol. I also encourage members to have regard to the Bar Association’s Protocols for In-Person Hearings while Social Distancing and for Remote Hearings which, together with Supreme Court’s Protocol, should provide useful guidance for appearances in Courts and Tribunals generally, subject of course to the particular directions applying in those Courts and Tribunals.

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:

• the Supreme Court's ​Re-issued Common Law Practice Notes CL 1,3,4 and 6, effective Monday 25 May; and

• Chief Magistrate’s Memorandum No 11 COVID-19 Arrangements - Listing of Defended Hearings with Persons in Custody where the Hearing has been Previously Abandoned and Changes to Arrangements set out in Previous Memoranda.

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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