Announcement from the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia regarding arrangements in New South Wales commencing 11 October 2021


The Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, the Hon James Allsop AO has written to the President regarding arrangements for the Federal Court in the light of the relaxation of restrictions in NSW from today.

The Court proposes to approach arrangements as follows:

• The building status for Federal Court operations will not change. Currently, except in exceptional circumstances and with my permission, all hearings are remote by MS Teams or streaming. That position will continue until at least 25 October 2021.

• If any party wishes to request an in-person hearing, the approach should be made to the docket or trial judge with all reasons as to why an in-person hearing is necessary (not merely preferred). The judge will then consult with the Chief Justice if he or she considers that an in-person hearing may be warranted.

• In any decision, regard will be paid to the numbers of persons involved (counsel, solicitors and witnesses). A protocol of conduct may be required by the Court in any large case. Masks of course must be worn, except by the judge and counsel speaking. All persons (counsel, solicitors and witnesses) must be double vaccinated. The solicitors for the parties will be required to inform the Court (no later than the evening before the hearing) that from their inquiries (made appropriately in advance) everyone on their side (including witnesses) is double vaccinated.

The Court proposes to monitor events in the coming two weeks to assess whether any changes need to be made to the building status for Federal Court operations and the approach of the Court.

The Chief Justice's letter is available here.

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