Courtroom technology and security

Sherrif uses a metal detector to scan a man entering the court
Image: Sherrif uses a metal detector to scan a man entering the court

Many courts have airport-style security at the entrance to prevent unauthorised items being taken into the court premises.

When you enter a court building that has security checking, you will be required to place all of your belongings on the baggage scanner. You will need to go through a walk-through metal detector and may also be scanned with a hand-held metal detector.

Temporary and random scanning operations are held from time to time in courts without permanent screening points.

You may also be required to undergo a personal search and remove face coverings for identification purposes.

The Court Security Act 2005 provides for security of courts and powers of security officers. Not complying with lawful directions given by a security officer under this Act may be an offence.

Unauthorised items

Items that cannot be brought into court premises include weapons, things that could be used as weapons or that could conceal weapons. It is an offence to bring firearms, knives and prohibited weapons into court premises. Knives and other weapons will be confiscated and handed to police.

Security officers may hold other items, which are not authorised, until you leave the premises.

These include:

  • tools, such as screwdrivers, spanners and hammers
  • scissors and other sharp items
  • motorcycle helmets
  • syringes, which you do not have medical authority to use.

These items will be returned to you when you leave the court premises.

People attending court are also not permitted to take alcohol onto court premises.

Security threats

Threats, including comments made about carrying weapons or explosives or intentions to cause damage or harm, will be taken seriously and entry to the building may be refused. Police may also be called.

Use of mobile phones, cameras and recording equipment

It is an offence to take photographs or to use audio recording devices in courtrooms and court premises. Permission to use these devices must be sought from a judicial officer.

Mobile phones must not disrupt court proceedings. Phones must be switched off before you enter courtrooms.

The use of technology in the local court is allowing greater flexibility in accessing justice and providing safety for court users.

Audio visual link (AVL)

The Audio Visual Link facility (AVL) is a form of video conferencing using cameras and television screens, that allows two-way communication to a remote location. AVL in local courts is primarily used to conduct bail hearings for offenders in a goal, however, is also used to take evidence from witnesses not able to attend the location, such as for witnesses who are interstate or overseas. Using AVL for bail hearings reduces unnecessary transportation of prisoners to and from court, especially to regional locations and increases the security for court users.

More information about AVL for bail hearings is available on the Department of Corrective Services website.

Remote witness facilities

Remote Witness Facilities (RWF) uses a form of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) to allow witnesses to give evidence from a location outside the courtroom. The witness can see, hear and participate in the court proceedings, but does not sit in the courtroom. The use of RWF can assist victims of crime and vulnerable persons feel safer when giving evidence as they are not in the courtroom with the offender.

Electronic evidence

Increasingly, evidence produced in court proceedings is in an electronic format. The list below provides information on the equipment available for evidence playback within regional New South Wales courtrooms. The circular provides the standards for the format of electronic evidence, and the final document provides more detailed advice on preparation for the presentation of electronic evidence.

It is the responsibility of the parties to an action to ensure that their electronic evidence is compatible with the courtroom playback equipment.

Related documents

Equipment available for evidence playback in regional New South Wales courtrooms.

Circular 2009-25, Law Enforcement Standard for Digital Evidence issued by the Department of Premier and Cabinet provides the formats permitted for use in courts.

Department of Justice requirements for Electronic Evidence playback in New South Wales courts.

Last updated:

13 May 2020

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we work and we pay respect to the Elders, past, present and future.
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