Changes to court operations - COVID-19 (Coronavirus)On this page
The Local Court has made changes to its operations to reduce the risk of the spread of Coronavirus. These changes are outlined in the Chief Magistrate's Memorandum and Court Security Order. Below is some general advice surrounding these arrangements which are in place to minimise physical attendance in local courts.
Forms are available for defendants or their legal representatives to enter a plea in Local Court matters online through the Online Registry.
Entry requirements, contacting/ attending the court
Please ensure you have read all of the following information as you may not be required to attend court.
These entry requirements will be strictly applied statewide. DO NOT ATTEND COURT IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY:
- you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in your isolation period
- have any flu-like symptoms (even mild) including fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell
- you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result
- you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive
- you are quarantining after returning from travel abroad
- wear a mask (unless evidence is produced of a medical exemption), AND
- adhere to physical distancing whilst in the building at all times.
Please note that due to the changing health advice, additional entry requirements may apply. These requirements will align with the NSW Health advice on a particular day.
Inability or refusal to adhere to these requirements will result in refusal of entry or a requirement that the person leave the premises.
Contacting your local court can be done in writing or by phone. The email address and telephone number for local courts are here
You can get information or legal support from:
- LawAccess www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 888 529 (Monday to Friday)
- Legal Aid: www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au or call Legal Aid on 1300 888 529.
- Aboriginal Legal Service: keep up to date on the ALS website www.als.nswact.org.au or via the ALS Facebook page.
- Law Society of NSW www.lawsociety.nsw.gov.au
You may attend proceedings, however attendance is only required when you are required to give evidence if there is a hearing listed.
It is recommended that you liaise with the prosecutor or NSW Police Domestic Violence Liaison Officer, as they will advise you if (and when) you need to attend.
All existing orders (interim, provisional and final) remain enforceable. For any immediate concerns, please contact NSW Police.
To assist minimising the risks of COVID-19 to yourself and others, two support people will be permitted for defendants, complainants, victims and witnesses.
If you need to request an adjournment of your matter (for example, if you have COVID-19 or you are currently in isolation), you can contact the court registry by email and ask for an adjournment to another date. The email address and telephone number for local courts are found here. You can also call the Courts Service Centre on 1300 679 272.
If you are currently located/ residing in another state/territory and are unable to physically attend NSW Local Court proceedings, you or your legal representative must advise the court in writing as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for a “Virtual Appearance” or other form or appearance, or to seek an appropriate adjournment, see the section of this webpage ‘How do I contact the court’.
For all local court matters the ‘entry requirements’ above apply. The following also applies:
- If you are legally represented: legal representatives can make an appearance in writing (email), make a request/seek an adjournment and/or indicate a plea. Please use email template in Memorandum 27.
- If you do not have a legal representative you will need to attend unless you email to request an adjournment (including reason). See sections 'How to contact a court'.
If you are in custody your court appearance will generally be via Audia Visual Link (AVL).
If you are on bail and have legal representation, please discuss with your legal representative whether your attendance is required.
If you are on bail and unrepresented you will be required to attend unless the prosecution agrees that your attendance is not required.
You will need to physically attend court UNLESS the following applies:
- your offence is a fine only offence AND you have made an application that has been approved for you to appear remotely
- you are in custody (defendants in custody will generally appear via AVL)
- the court has agreed to your attendance via AVL or telephone.
If you are unable to attend for another reason, you MUST contact the court NO LATER than 1pm the day before your court date to either: request to appear remotely (via telephone or AVL), request an adjournment, or your legal representative can make an appearance in writing (via email).
Please see 'how to contact the court'.
You can seek legal assistance for your particular circumstances by contacting Law Access NSW. Visit the Law Access NSW website or call 1300 888 529.
Wherever possible, defendants should provide an email address, residential address or mobile telephone number to facilitate communication of the court’s response.
Hearings for pleas of not guilty
Hearings are now generally proceeding in-person. If you are required to give evidence but are unable to due to health related reasons, application can be made to give evidence via alternative means (eg AVL).
If you are unsure of your next court date or have a query, please contact the court service centre or email the relevant court. See question ‘how do I contact the court?’
Please see the Chief Magistrate’s Memorandum No. 27B. Attached to that memo is an email template that must be used as an alternate to in-person appearances and be sent to the relevant court by 1pm the day before the listing date.
Please note that requests to appear via AVL will be subject the availability of technology and suitability of the proceedings being dealt with in this manner (Note: legal practitioners should refer to the directions in full in the Chief Magistrates memorandum).
Legal practitioners can access case information via the online registry website (for both civil and criminal matters).
It is a quick and efficient way to access and view live court results and other information related to the cases you represent, providing answers to the most commonly asked questions that you may contact the registry or our Court Services Centre about.
Once you are registered, you can link any criminal or civil matters you act for through the filing of a Notice of Appointment or Notice of Appearance. After you are linked to the case, you will be able to view case information such as court results, bail conditions and future listing dates. In civil matters, you can also file forms.
The filing of the Notice of Appointment or Notice of Appearance is fully automated, meaning you only need to complete the applicable details within the online form. There is no requirement for you to draft the form and then upload. Once the appointment or appearance has been lodged, the case is automatically linked to your profile and you can view the matter in your case list. To begin adding cases to your profile, you will need the Justicelink case number to file the appointment or appearance.
To register or access your login, go the online registry website. If you have paralegals or administration staff, they can also register for online services as a ‘delegate’. Once registered, you can link them to your profile, giving them the ability to view the cases you represent and obtain the same information. They will also be able to file forms on your behalf.
For information on how to register.
If you require any technical assistance with registering or linking cases to your account, you can contact email@example.com
Please do not attend any court in NSW in person without first contacting the relevant court, see section 'How to contact a court'
Due to COVID-19, face to face registry services across all of NSW are limited (or in some locations temporarily not available). Please do not attend a court in person without contacting the relevant court, see section 'how to contact a court'.
The following applies state-wide:
Small claims hearings will remain listed and proceed by telephone/AVL (where possible). Parties must provide all statements via email no later than three days prior to the hearing.
Traffic Offender Intervention Program
The Traffic Offender Intervention Program (TOIP) will not be delivered face-to-face during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are having difficulty participating in the course during COVID-19, you can contact the court and ask for the matter to be relisted or contact your local TOIP provider. If you need further information or have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org