Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Contacting / attending the court
If you are represented by a lawyer you do not have to come to court unless a judicial officer has specifically asked you to attend.
If you do not have a lawyer, you should contact the relevant court registry by phone or email and ask whether you need to come to court and whether other options are available for you to participate without having to come to court.
However, you must not come to court if you:
- have COVID-19
- have travelled and returned from overseas in the past 14 days
- are a household contact of a positive case and required to isolate.
- have been directed to self-isolate by NSW Health or
- are feeling unwell.
Yes. As you enter a court building it is likely that you will be asked some questions by a Sheriff’s Officer about whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
You must wear a face mask, unless you have a medical exemption.
You may also need to submit to a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).
You will be asked to check in using the QR code at the front of the court building and the QR code for the courtroom that you are attending.
While waiting for your case please:
- wear a face mask (this is a condition of entry)
- use the hand sanitiser provided
- follow the signs
- remember to practice good hygiene, and
- keep 1.5 metres distances between you and other people at the court wherever possible.
The Public Health Order relating to the wearing of face masks applies in all NSW courts:
- You must wear a face mask in any indoor public waiting area of the courthouse;
- You must wear a face mask inside the court room;
- You must wear a face mask when attending a conference conducted by a Children’s Registrar.
These requirements do not apply in the following circumstances:
- You have a medical exemption. Please provide your medical exemption documents to court staff.
- Children under the age of 12 years.
- You experience a physical or mental health illness or condition or disability that makes wearing a face mask unsuitable including, for example, a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma.
You can remove your face mask in some circumstances including:
- You are communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.
- You are working at the Courthouse and the nature of your work makes the wearing of the face mask a risk to your safety or another person's health and safety.
If you have a lawyer, you should speak to them about whether they can make arrangements for you to listen by phone or appear by video conference when your case is dealt with.
If you do not have a lawyer, you should contact the relevant court registry by phone or email and ask what options may be available for you to participate without having to come to court. Please make sure you contact the registry no later than the working day before your court date.
At this stage we are limiting the amount of people attending court in order to minimise the risk. The judicial officer will need to give special permission to allow a support person to go into the courtroom.
If you are a child or young person, your parents or carers should come with you. Make sure you speak with your lawyer first. If your attendance is required make sure to check with the registry staff and let them know who will attend.
If you are an adult you are strongly encouraged to come by yourself where possible.
You can email or call the Children's Court. The email address and telephone number for each court location can be found here.
The court will contact you by email or telephone. If you have a lawyer, the court will contact your lawyer first and they will pass on information to you.
If you have a lawyer, it is important they can get in contact with you so make sure you provide your current contact details.
You will receive an automatic email reply from the court to let you know your email has been received.
No. All lawyers are encouraged to attend court by Audio-Visual Link (AVL). Please contact the relevant court registry to make arrangements.
If you have been advised that you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 please do not attend court. Notify your lawyer as soon as possible. If you do not have a lawyer please contact the relevant court registry as soon as possible by phone or email and ask what options may be available for you to participate without having to come to court.
Judicial officers will continue to travel on Children’s Court Circuits unless they are advised not to.
Cases listed for hearing
The court will continue to conduct hearings that can be done by Audio-Visual Link (AVL) or by submissions only provided there is a judicial officer and staffing capacity at the relevant location. Hearings that cannot be conducted by AVL will be considered on a case by case basis. For more information, please see Coronavirus Public Notice 13.
Cases listed for case management directions
Cases will continue to be listed for case management directions. However, parties are excused from attending court if they are represented by a lawyer.
Cases will be dealt with by phone or video conference where possible but if you need to go to court you go to the court where you were due to appear.
Local Courts that also deal with Children’s Court cases will continue to operate as advised by the Chief Magistrate.
If you are unsure what you need to do you should contact the court where you are due to appear for further information.
Care and Protection jurisdiction
The Children's Court remains open. Judicial officers continue to deal with cases by phone or video conference where possible.
Yes. An application still needs to be lodged with the Children’s Court within three working days after the decision to remove a child.
The application will be listed and heard at the Children’s Court where it is lodged, usually the next working day but no later than three working days after it has been lodged.
The Legal Aid Duty Lawyer service will continue to operate. You may be contacted by a duty lawyer once a new application is filed with the Court. You do not need to come to court if a lawyer is going to represent you.
If you are not contacted by a duty lawyer prior to the court date, then you should call Law Access on 1300 888 529 and they will put you in contact with a lawyer who can help you.
If you have a lawyer you do not need to come to court unless your case is listed for hearing and you have been told that your case is proceeding in person rather than AVL.
If you want to listen to what happens in court when your case is dealt with you should talk to your lawyer. Arrangements can be made for you to listen to the court proceedings by phone.
However, you should be available to speak to your lawyer by phone on the day of court in case the lawyer needs to get more information from you.
If you don't have a lawyer you should contact the court registry to ask about options to participate without coming to court. Please note that these arrangements are subject to change at short notice.
Any urgent care applications should be listed in accordance with the listing arrangements in place prior to the court’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the judicial officer may be appearing from a different court.
Dispute Resolution Conferences will continue to be conducted by telephone or video conference unless the Children's Registrar tells you otherwise. Contact the Children's Court conference coordinator at email@example.com or by phone 8688 1471 if you have any questions.
If you have a lawyer you do not have to come to court unless your lawyer or the court tells you to.
If you don't have a lawyer, the case will be adjourned for approximately four weeks to allow you to get legal advice. If you are unable to get a lawyer or you choose not to be legally represented, you should contact the relevant court registry by phone or email and ask whether you need to come to court and whether other options are available for you to participate without having to come to court.
All defendants should contact either Legal Aid or the Aboriginal Legal Service as soon as you have been issued a court attendance notice by police.
Don't wait until it is close to the court date.
The lawyer will talk to you about any bail conditions or AVO conditions and can ask the court to change the conditions if necessary before the first court date.
If you are the family member of a young person in custody you should contact Youth Justice on 1300 135 330.
Bail applications will continue to be dealt within 24 hours after a young person is bail refused by police.
Cases will continue to be case managed in the usual way and the young person will appear by Audio-Video Link (AVL).
In most locations hearings will proceed if a young person is in custody as long as the judicial officer is satisfied that it is safe to do so.
Contact should be made with the relevant court registry.
Judicial officers will be looking at bail conditions on the first court date. Make sure you talk to your lawyer about whether these conditions are workable.
All first appearance bail matters will be done by Audio-Video Link (AVL).
For more information, please see Public Notice 13.
You can email your documents to the court.
It is important that you email your documents to the Children's Court registry where your case is listed.
The court will accept unsworn or unaffirmed affidavits during this period. This means that if you are unable to arrange for your documents to be witnessed by a lawyer or JP, the court will still accept the document for filing.
If you can't email your documents to the court, you should contact the registry by phone to discuss options.