COVID-19: What are the courts doing?
Change is the norm at the moment and the courts are no different. Updates are coming every few days. At the time of this article, here is the latest news from the court.
At the moment all courts are still open however with very strict measures and means of communications.
The courts must adhere to the restrictive requirements imposed by the Government. As a result, they cannot administer justice in the usual way, and significant changes have had to be made.
The principle basis upon which work will be conducted in the courts in the near future will be by telephone. Only urgent matters will be dealt with by the court in face-to-face hearings.
FAMILY COURT AND FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT:
First instance family law proceedings
First Return Duty Lists, Mentions, Directions, and Interim Hearings will be by telephone appearance. For Final hearings, Judges will conduct a telephone callover for all matters listed in the next 2 months for a defended hearing.
Cases assessed to be of a lower priority, may be sent to mediation and the matter will otherwise be adjourned for trial on a date to be advised.
Cases that are assessed to be of a high priority will follow the courts specifically designed face-to-face in-court protocol.
Face-to-face in Court Protocol
Priority will be given to urgent matters that the judge considers cannot be dealt with over the telephone.
The court will stagger listings. Short matters will be listed at 30 minute intervals.
Longer contested matters will not be listed for more than 1.5 hours, and with sufficient time in between listings to allow cleaning to occur.
- All court documents must be filed by e-filing.
- If there are problems with e-filing, the documents must be emailed to the court.
- Hard copies of documents should not be posted or delivered to the registry, except in the limited circumstance where a party is unrepresented and unable to email documents.
- Subpoena viewing is by appointment only. Requests for an appointment should be made by emailing the registry.
- Legal practitioners and parties should only make appointments to view subpoenaed material if they have a matter scheduled for hearing in the subsequent 4 weeks or the matter is urgent.
BRISBANE MAGISTRATES COURT
Domestic Violence Applications: Court 25
Court 25 will continue to sit Monday to Friday. It will hear urgent applications for domestic violence orders Monday- Friday.
All appearances by legally represented parties are excused.
All appearances by aggrieved in police applications for domestic violence orders are excused.
However, any aggrieved or respondent may appear in a matter. To reduce risk, appearance by telephone is preferred but if this is not possible appearance at Court 25 is permitted.
All parties may appear by telephone in accordance with the Guidelines set out by the Court.
Filing of New Applications by Private Parties
If the application is not urgent, the Applicant should file the application by post to the Brisbane Magistrates Court Registry.
If the application is urgent, the Applicant should first contact the Queensland Police Service and request them to obtain an urgent temporary protection order or issue a Police Protection Notice (PPN) on behalf of the Applicant.
- QPS determine and advise the person that it is not appropriate for them to issue a PPN or to seek an urgent temporary protection order on behalf of that person; and
- The person believes they have urgent grounds to seek a temporary or other protection order, but cannot attend court to file their application due to the emergent situation notified by the court. THEN such person may lodge their application electronically for consideration by the court, and include email addresses and telephone contact details for all parties and relevant witnesses to the proceeding.
Email address for sending urgent Domestic Violence Applications to be considered:
WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATON:
To speak with one of our experienced family lawyers about supervision options, please contact our Brisbane office today. Call us on (07) 3221 4300 to organise a no-obligation initial appointment at a fixed-cost. We will be happy to assist you over the phone or by Skype.
Reference: Family Law Section by Law Council of Australia, MARCH 2020