Queensland Law Society

Updated Thursday 23 July, 2020

COVID-19 Update on Courts, Commissions, Tribunals, Titles and property

QLS will provide up to date information to members on the evolving COVID-19 situation and the response of the Courts and Tribunals in Queensland as soon as information is available. QLS will continue to communicate regularly with the Courts and will update members on any new developments.

We encourage members to also visit the respective Court websites for up to date information. If you have a concern about a particular matter, we encourage you to call the relevant registry.

QLS appreciates your understanding and patience as we work with the Courts and relevant stakeholders. If members require further information or have questions about your practice during this time generally, please contact the QLS Practice Support service on 07 3842 5843 or email ethics@qls.com.au.

For Titles and Property Law updates please see information here.

For Criminal Law updates please see information here.

Queensland Courts

Queensland Courts now has a central COVID-19 response page, available here, that lists information from the individual courts.  

22 July 2020 – The Supreme Court and District Court have released an announcement in relation to Civil proceedings in the Trial Divisions of each court, stating that the court will conduct matters in person to the extent consistent with medical advice in the Health Directives from the Chief Medical Officer.

29 June 2020 – Reminder from Queensland Courts Regarding Social Distancing

As restrictions are lifted, legal practitioners are reminded to observe social distancing in all courts, particularly the Magistrates Court, where the flow and number of people is higher. The Courts have worked hard to return to normal operations and remind practitioners and others that it is everyone’s responsibility to adhere to these measures. The recommended protocols can be found on the Courts Website here.

4 June 2020 - The Queensland Courts have released an update regarding execution of civil enforcement warrants. From 18 June 2020, the execution of civil enforcement warrants by bailiffs and/or enforcement officers will resume. Registries may allocate enforcement warrants to bailiffs and enforcement officers before 18 June 2020, but no steps will be taken by the bailiffs or enforcement officers until 18 June 2020. The announcement, which also provides information about listing procedures for adjourned and new enforcement hearings, can be found here.

29 May 2020Queensland Courts now accepting electronic signatures on some court documents

Following continued advocacy from QLS, from 21 May 2020, Queensland Court registries will now accept any hard copy UCPR document for filing (except where it is a sworn document) that has a wet, stamped or electronic signature of the applicant or the applicant’s lawyer/law firm.

An electronic signature includes pasting a digitised image of a person’s/law firm’s signature or using e-signing software to sign a document, and then printing this document in hard copy for the purpose of filing in a court registry.

Members are to note that the provisions in the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Documents and Oaths) Regulation 2020 will however apply in respect of signing and witnessing affidavits until the expiry of the regulation on 31 December 2020, despite registries not generally accepting these documents unless they bear wet-ink signatures.

Supreme Court of Queensland

21 May 2020 – Supreme Court Applications: Her Honour Justice Lyons, Senior Judge Administrator has released a “Protocol for Applications in the Supreme Court” in light of COVID-19 restrictions. This protocol applies from Monday, 25 May 2020 until further notice and can be found here. This protocol is designed to assist in management of risks associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Parties and practitioners appearing in Applications are expected to follow the public health directions issued by the Government and Justice Lyons has confirmed that the changes do not represent a change to require appearances, in person, in circumstances where restrictions still apply. 

21 May 2020 – The Supreme and District Courts released a “Notice to Practitioners in Relation to Criminal Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This Notice takes the place of the Notice issued on 18 March 2020. It provides an update regarding proposed resumption of jury trials and increased sentencing in the second half of the year. The notice can be found here.

27 April 2020 – The Queensland Courts have announced that from 27 April 2020, the Supreme and District Courts, Brisbane, are trialling a new cloud-based video conferencing system for the conduct of proceedings. Parties should refer to the daily law list to confirm if their matter will be conducted via the system. Read the User Guide Online.

23 April 2020 – The Supreme Court has released Practice Direction Number 10 of 2020  regarding informal wills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

6 April 2020 - The Brisbane Supreme, District and Land Court Service has put further measures in place to address
  • the significant number of firms and filing agents choosing to file documents in person and electing to wait to collect service copies and receipts; and
  • errors made when filing documents which cause significant delays.   
From today, the Brisbane Supreme and District Courts Client Relations team (counter and phones) will move to a dispersed workplace arrangement where no direct counter services will be provided. When filing documents by post, a stamped addressed return envelope should be provided. When filing documents in the drop box at the Brisbane registry:
  • Parties should use this updated drop box form
  • Urgent matters will be cleared every 30 minutes by registry staff and processed as a matter of priority;
  • Filing clerks can be contacted by SMS when documents are available for collection;
  • Non-urgent documents can be filed in the drop box and will be returned via ordinary post unless a priority paid envelope is provided. 
Should practitioners have any questions, they can contact the Registry on 1800 497 117 or email ccu@justice.qld.gov.au.

1 April 2020 - Her Honour Justice Lyons, Senior Judge Administrator has published a new note 'Supreme Court Trial Division Use of Technology During Covid-19 response' which states that 'Court users should now assume that all cases in the trial division requiring any form of substantive oral hearing will take place by the use of teleconferences or videoconferences (or a combination of the two)'. Practitioners are also encouraged to familiarise themselves with the user guides issued in relation to Chorus Call for telephone conferences and Cisco Webex Teams for video conferences. See the notice for further information about the use of technology in the court during this time here.

27 March 2020 - The Supreme Court has now introduced a process for electronic filing of Consent Orders and Notices of Discontinuance. Information about the process for filing these documents is available here. Please note that this process is subject to rule 975C of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 i.e. the original affidavit must be retained for 7 years and be able to be produced if called upon

25 March 2020 - Justice A Lyons, Senior Judge Administrator, issued a Protocol for Applications. The Protocol, available here, will commence from 30 March 2020 until further notice. The Protocol states that Parties or practitioners appearing in Applications should only be attending, in person, at court if the matter is urgent, and cannot practicably be dealt with by telephone or video conference.

Any consent orders, including for adjournments, which are agreed prior to 9.00 am on the day a matter is listed are to be emailed to the associate and will be dealt with on the papers.

Callovers will be conducted by phone using a chorus call. The Protocol provides further details on this process and oral hearings.

24 March 2020 - His Honour Justice Burns, Criminal List Judge published a ‘Protocol for Criminal List Reviews in the Supreme Court’ to assist in the management of risks associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and, in particular, to avoid the need for any appearance in court, where that is at all possible and, instead, facilitate appearances by telephone, using chorus call. It is intended to reduce the number of people in the courtroom at any given time, see the Protocol here.

24 March 2020 – Use of court technology during COVID-19 response: the Supreme and District Courts seek to maximise the use of telephone and video links to minimise the need for physical attendance in courtrooms over coming weeks. The following information and guides offer further details:

19 March 2020 – The Criminal List Manager, Supreme Court of Queensland Brisbane Registry has published a ‘Note to Practitioners’ which provides further information following the Chief Justice’s Notice to Legal Practitioners which was published on 18 March 2020. The further note provides information about criminal reviews and indictment presentations, jury trials, adjournments of sentences, priority matters and bail applications.

19 March 2020 – The Supreme, District and Land Courts' Brisbane registries have created a Filing Drop box. As of Monday, 23 March 2020, all QEII court users, including practitioners, will be offered the use of a drop box located near the entrance to the building to file their documents. The drop box will be monitored by Registry staff. All documents received will be filed on the same day and a receipt will be issued as required. Once the document is processed it will be returned to you via post. The option to file your documents in person is still available. You will need to complete the cover sheet available here. An information page is available here and you can phone the Supreme & District Courts on 1800 497 117 or email CCU@justice.qld.gov.au.

18 March 2020 – The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Chief Judge of the District Court of Queensland published a ‘Notice to legal practitioners in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic’ which provides an update to practitioners about the conduct of Trial Division - Civil matters, Trial Division - Criminal matters and information about matters in the Court of Appeal. More information is available here.

17 March 2020 - QLS met with the State Courts and a range of key stakeholders with regard to managing an appropriate response to COVID-19. QLS anticipates providing further clarity to members regarding the State Courts’ proposed approach by the end of this week (20 March 2020) and further statements from the Courts are anticipated to be issued imminently.

16 March 2020 - The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland, The Honourable Catherine Holmes AC, and the Chief Judge of the District Court of Queensland, His Honour Judge Kerry O’Brien have announced that new jury trials are suspended for the immediate future. Specific courthouse and registry details including contact numbers can be found here.

District Court of Queensland

21 May 2020 – The Supreme and District Courts released a “Notice to Practitioners in Relation to Criminal Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This Notice takes the place of the Notice issued on 18 March 2020. It provides an update regarding proposed resumption of jury trials and increased sentencing in the second half of the year. The notice can be found here.

27 April 2020 – The Queensland Courts have announced that from 27 April 2020, the Supreme and District Courts, Brisbane, are trialling a new cloud-based video conferencing system for the conduct of proceedings. Parties should refer to the daily law list to confirm if their matter will be conducted via the system. Read the User Guide Online.

6 April 2020 - The Brisbane Supreme, District and Land Court Service has put further measures in place to address

  • the significant number of firms and filing agents choosing to file documents in person and electing to wait to collect service copies and receipts; and
  • errors made when filing documents which cause significant delays.   
From today, the Brisbane Supreme and District Courts Client Relations team (counter and phones) will move to a dispersed workplace arrangement where no direct counter services will be provided. When filing documents by post, a stamped addressed return envelope should be provided. When filing documents in the drop box at the Brisbane registry:
  • Parties should use this updated drop box form
  • Urgent matters will be cleared every 30 minutes by registry staff and processed as a matter of priority;
  • Filing clerks can be contacted by SMS when documents are available for collection;
  • Non-urgent documents can be filed in the drop box and will be returned via ordinary post unless a priority paid envelope is provided. 

Should practitioners have any questions, they can contact the Registry on 1800 497 117 or email ccu@justice.qld.gov.au.

27 March 2020 - The District Court has now introduced a process for electronic filing of Consent Orders and Notices of Discontinuance. Information about the process for filing these documents is available here. Please note that this process is subject to rule 975C of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 i.e. the original affidavit must be retained for 7 years and be able to be produced if called upon

27 March 2020 - The District Court is conducting three circuits this week (the week commencing 31 March 2020) with Judge Farr, Judge Chowdhury and Judge Porter. The circuits will be entirely remote, with the judges remaining in Brisbane.

Practitioners are urged to rise to the tech challenge in circumstances where the judges have made themselves available to hear judge alone trials during the circuits.

25 March 2020 - His Honour Chief Judge O'Brien issued a revised notice in relation to the hearing of civil applications in the District Court at Brisbane from 30 March 2020. The notice, available here, provides for the staggering of hearings as directed by a judge. Generally, matters will be listed at half hourly intervals from 9:30am. The notice advises that parties should avoid attending the Court where possible. Matters should be dealt with on the papers or via a telephone or videolink appearance. Further details are set out in the Notice. If a matter is able to be consented to or adjourned at any time before the hearing, the associate is to be contacted so that the matter can be dealt with on the papers. Should a hearing proceed via a face-to-face appearance, the parties should limit the number of people in the courtroom.

A similar approach may be taken in regional courts if there is a significant number of matters on the applications list on any one day.

24 March 2020 - Use of court technology during COVID-19 response: the Supreme and District Courts seek to maximise the use of telephone and video links to minimise the need for physical attendance in courtrooms over coming weeks. The following information and guides offer further details:

19 March 2020 – His Honour, Chief Judge O’Brien issued a notice in relation to the administrative listing of non-jury matters in the District Court at Brisbane. The notice, available here, outlines the process for applying for administrative listing or de-listing of sentence hearings and other non-jury matters, where both sides are in agreement.

19 March 2020 – The Supreme, District and Land Courts' Brisbane registries have created a Filing Drop box. As of Monday, 23 March 2020, all QEII court users, including practitioners, will be offered the use of a drop box located near the entrance to the building to file their documents. The drop box will be monitored by Registry staff. All documents received will be filed on the same day and a receipt will be issued as required. Once the document is processed it will be returned to you via post. The option to file your documents in person is still available. You will need to complete the cover sheet available here. An information page is available here and you can phone the Supreme & District Courts on 1800 497 117 or email CCU@justice.qld.gov.au.

19 March 2020 - Brisbane District Court criminal listings - To avoid significant congregation of people in the court room and with a view to reducing the need for practitioners to attend court, parties are encouraged to seek an administrative listing or delisting of sentence hearings and other non-jury matters, where both sides are in agreement. The application should be made to the Criminal List Manager at dccrime@justice.qld.gov.au in the relevant formhere.

18 March 2020 - His Honour Chief Judge O'Brien issued the following notice regarding civil applications in the District Court:

  1. The current practice of all civil applications to be heard in Brisbane on a particular day being listed for 10.00am will be suspended until further notice.
  2. Rather, the hearing of matters will be staggered.
  3. The default listing practice from Monday 23 March 2020 will be that matters are listed at half hourly intervals, starting at 9.30am.
  4. However, the Judge of the Court responsible for particular applications might stagger the hearing of those matters in a different way.
  5. Parties should pay particular regard to the time allocated to their application in the Daily Law List on the day that the matter is to be heard.
  6. Although this practice will not be mandated for civil applications in regional Courts, it is to be expected that a similar approach will be adopted where there is a significant number of matters listed in applications for the same day.

More information is available here.

18 March 2020 – The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Chief Judge of the District Court of Queensland published a ‘Notice to legal practitioners in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic’ which provides an update to practitioners about the conduct of Trial Division - Civil matters, Trial Division - Criminal matters and information about matters in the Court of Appeal. More information is available here.

Land Court of Queensland

6 April 2020 - The Brisbane Supreme, District and Land Court Service has put further measures in place to address

  • the significant number of firms and filing agents choosing to file documents in person and electing to wait to collect service copies and receipts; and
  • errors made when filing documents which cause significant delays.   
From today, the Brisbane Supreme and District Courts Client Relations team (counter and phones) will move to a dispersed workplace arrangement where no direct counter services will be provided. When filing documents by post, a stamped addressed return envelope should be provided. When filing documents in the drop box at the Brisbane registry:
  • Parties should use this updated drop box form
  • Urgent matters will be cleared every 30 minutes by registry staff and processed as a matter of priority;
  • Filing clerks can be contacted by SMS when documents are available for collection;
  • Non-urgent documents can be filed in the drop box and will be returned via ordinary post unless a priority paid envelope is provided. 
Should practitioners have any questions, they can contact the Registry on 1800 497 117 or email ccu@justice.qld.gov.au.

19 March 2020 – The Supreme, District and Land Courts' Brisbane registries have created a Filing Drop box. As of Monday, 23 March 2020, all QEII court users, including practitioners, will be offered the use of a drop box located near the entrance to the building to file their documents. The drop box will be monitored by Registry staff. All documents received will be filed on the same day and a receipt will be issued as required. Once the document is processed it will be returned to you via post. The option to file your documents in person is still available. You will need to complete the cover sheet available here. An information page is available here and you can phone the Supreme & District Courts on 1800 497 117 or email CCU@justice.qld.gov.au.

The Land Court is open and is proceeding as normal. In order to deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19, the Court requests parties and practitioners to use mail or email to file documents, wherever possible, and to advise the Court as soon as they become aware of any circumstances that might affect how and when a case proceeds. The Court will use audio-visual and conferencing technology as appropriate, to minimise risk. Information about the Court’s technology is available from the Land Court Registry.

The Court will continue to monitor closely the advice being provided by government health authorities and act accordingly. Community safety will always be a priority. The Land Court website is available here for further information.

Planning and Environment Court

22 April 2020 – The Planning and Environment Court is introducing temporary arrangements for the hearing of uncontested applications to make a minor change to a development application and a development approval. The temporary arrangements will apply to uncontested minor change applications listed for hearing on, and from, 5 May 2020.  Details of the new temporary arrangements are available here.  This update is also available on the Queensland Courts COVID-19 response website for the Planning and Environment Court.

1 April 2020 - The court hearing practices for the Planning & Environment Court have been revised. This new document, available here, replaces the previous version dated 20 March 2020. The new practice encourages the use of technology to maximise the appearance of witnesses by telephone or video-link, minimise document handling and to make early arrangement for e-trials. Parties should also ensure they are familiar with Practice Direction No 1 of 2016 regarding Electronic Document Filing and Access.

27 March 2020 - The ADR Conference practices for the Planning & Environment Court have been revised. From 30 March 2020, all ADR conferences will be held via teleconference or video conference. In-person conferences will only be held in exceptional circumstances. Further information on the new practices is available here.

20 March 2020- A Notice for Planning and Environment Court Hearings has been issued and is available here. The Notice contains health and safety information and information about witnesses appearing by telephone and video-link.

Magistrates Court of Queensland

8 July 2020 - New Online Application for a Court Event (Magistrates Courts)

From 8 July 2020 the Queensland Magistrates Courts Online Application for a Court Event form is available for use by lawyers in adult criminal matters. The form can be used to seek an order for:

  • a sentence date (including a short plea, lengthy plea or contested sentence)
  • an adjournment other than of a hearing
  • a date for a hearing of an application (including a bail application or a directions hearing)
  • a direction by the Court (including a direction for the provision of a brief of evidence)

The matter must already have a listing date. 

The form is available from the Queensland Courts website Online Application for a Court Event (Magistrates Courts). At this stage, the form should only be used by lawyers in adult criminal matters.

The form can be used for all Magistrates Court locations across Queensland. Practice Direction 7 of 2020 – Online Court Event Applications has been issued to support the use of the form.

The form replaces the current Apply for an adjournment form available on the Queensland Courts website which can only be used for matters in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Questions on the use of this form can be directed to: Website.Feedback@justice.qld.gov.au

8 July 2020 - Practice Directions 6 and 7

The Chief Magistrate has issued the following practice directions:

28 May 2020 – The Magistrates Court has issued Practice Direction 5, which repeals Practice Direction 3 from 14 June 2020. This new practice direction will commence from 15 June 2020 and can be found here. It provides for amended COVID-19 Court Arrangements, including new requirements for appearances in person for most trials, committal proceedings, pleas, hearings and applications (unless leave is given to appear via telephone or videoconference), arrangements for callovers/mentions/first appearances, procedures for documents to be relied upon in matters and other relevant measures.

28 May 2020 – The Childrens Court (Magistrates Court) has issued Practice Direction 6, which repeals Practice Direction 4 from 14 June. This new practice direction will commence from 15 June 2020 and can be found here. It provides for amended COVID-19 Court Arrangements, including new requirements for appearances in person for most trials, committal proceedings, pleas, child protection applications, hearings and other applications (unless leave is given to appear via telephone or videoconference), arrangements for callovers/mentions/first appearances, procedures for documents to be relied upon in matters, and other relevant measures.

14 May 2020 - The Magistrates Court is testing a new cloud-based videoconferencing system for the conduct of proceedings. PEXIP is currently in testing so only select matters will be heard in this manner. If you are a party to a matter that is testing the system you will receive instructions. Further communication and updates will be provided as testing progresses including frequently asked questions.

29 April 2020 - The Brisbane Magistrates Court have issued an Amended COVID-19 Brisbane Magistrates Court Guideline for Criminal Proceedings.

The Guideline is to be read with Practice Direction 3 of 2020 (amended), Practice Direction 4 of 2020 (amended) and the Designated Matters and Urgent Applications: Listing Procedures; and will be in effect from 29 April 2020.

28 April 2020 - Regional Co-ordinating Magistrate Pinder has amended the Cairns and Far North  Queensland Region Guideline 2 of 2020.

QLS has been informed the changes in this amendment are as follows:

  • In 8.0 Urgent Application for leave to hear a matter – The email to the Registry should be headed ‘Request to Hear Urgent Matter: Name of Matter/Listing Date’ and -  The applicant’s estimate for time of hearing needs to be provided
  • In 13.0 Applications for leave to hear designated matter – The email to the Registry should be headed ‘Request to List Designated Matter: Name of Matter/Adjournment Date’ and - The email should include availability dates seven days ahead from the date of the request.

The guideline provides information on:

  • General arrangements
  • Telephone and video appearances
  • Work the Court will undertake
  • Courts that will sit in the Cairns Magistrates Court
  • Bail applications
  • Video Court
  • Committal and summary hearing mentions
  • Sentences/Long Pleas
  • Urgent applications for leave to hear a matter
  • Domestic Violence Applications
  • Childrens Court
  • Urgent QCAT Applications
  • PPRA Applications for Order and Warrants
  • Applications for leave to hear designated matters
  • Surrenders to the Court by Defendants

27 April 2020 - Queensland Courts have published a notice in relation to domestic violence applications. The notice outlines that “due to the impact of COVID-19, some applicants wishing to file a domestic violence application, may be unable to have their application verified by a justice of the peace using the normal statutory declaration process. To assist, Magistrates Courts will permit any applicant seeking a domestic violence application to orally verify their statutory declaration over the phone to the presiding Magistrate.” The notice can be read in full online.

24 April 2020 - The Brisbane Magistrates Court has released the ‘COVID-19 Brisbane Magistrates Court Guideline for Civil Proceedings’.

This guideline should be read in conjunction with Practice Direction 3 of 2020. It relates solely to the conduct of civil proceedings (excluding Child Protection and Domestic Violence) in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

24 April 2020 - The Brisbane Magistrates Court has issued the ‘Designated Matters and Urgent Applications: Listing Procedures Email Guidelines

This document outlines the Listing Procedures Email Guidelines for Brisbane Magistrates from 27 April 2020 for:

  • Appearances by telephone pursuant to paragraph 10 of the PD 3 and 4 of 2020 Court Arrangements COVID-19 (amended);
  • Urgent Matters pursuant to paragraph 19 of PD 3 and 4 of 2020 Court Arrangements COVID-19 (amended); and
  • Designated Matters pursuant to paragraph 20 of PD 3 and 4 of 2020 Court Arrangements COVID-19 (amended).

9 April 2020 - Regional Coordinating Magistrate Chris Callaghan has issued a protocol for the North Coast Region Magistrates Court (Maroochydore Nambour Noosa Caloundra and Gympie Courts), Protocol for having matters listed, in relation to Practice Direction 3 of 2020 – Court Arrangements (COVID-19) (Amended)

This amended Practice Direction covers Substantial Prejudice Matters, Paragraph 20 of PD 3 of 2020 and Paragraph 15 of PD 4 of 2020 Matters, and also general advice regarding the hearing of matters.

9 April 2020 - Deputy Chief Magistrate Brassington has issued "Designated Matters and Urgent Applications: Listing Procedures - Brisbane Magistrates Court from 20 April 2020". This document outlines the Listing Procedures for Brisbane Magistrates from 20 April 2020 for:

  • Designated Matters pursuant to paragraph 20 of PD 3 of 2020 Court Arrangements COVID-19 (amended) ; and
  • Urgent Matters pursuant to paragraph 19 of PD 3 of 2020 Court Arrangements COVID-19 (amended).

7 April 2020 - The Chief Magistrate has issued two amended Practice Directions, PD 3 of 2020 and PD 4 of 2020, along with a Notice in accordance with these amended practice directions:

The practice direction confirms that the Court is hearing matters and is equipped to utilise online court, audio visual equipment and digital technology to allow matters to continue remotely. It sets out the process for appearances, work the court will undertake, currently listed matters, civil matters, new matters where the defendant is not in custody, urgent matters and applications. It also provides a schedule giving information on regional courts.

This practice direction repeals Practice Direction 2 of 2020 and the local Guidelines issued for regions. 

The practice direction sets out arrangements when the Childrens Court is constituted by a magistrate and confirms that the Court is hearing matters and is equipped to utilise online court, audio visual equipment and digital technology to allow matters to continue remotely. It sets out the process for appearances, work the court will undertake, currently listed matters, civil matters, new matters where the defendant is not in custody, urgent matters and applications. It also provides a schedule giving information on regional courts. 

The Notice states that unless otherwise directed by Regional Coordinating Magistrate Callaghan, Gympie matters will be heard from Maroochydore.

3 April 2020 - Regional Coordinating Magistrate Chris Callaghan has issued a protocol for the North Coast Region Magistrates Court (Maroochydore Nambour Noosa Caloundra and Gympie Courts), Domestic Violence Protocol, in relation to Practice Direction 3 of 2020 – Court Arrangements (COVID-19) (Amended)

This amended Practice Direction covers Police Applications and Private Applications.

Childrens Court of Queensland

30 March 2020 - Judge Richards, President of the Childrens Court of Queensland issued Practice Direction 1 of 2020 - Court Arrangements (COVID-19) in the Childrens Court. The practice direction outlines the process for preparing for and attending court.

Queensland Drug and Alcohol Court

Referrals to the QDAC will be suspended for a period of three months effective immediately. Please see a notice dealing with the QDAC’s response to COVID-19 here. This notice should be read in conjunction with paragraph 6 of QDAC Guideline No 1 of 2020.

Coroners Court

The State Coroner, Terry Ryan has published a notice about the Coroners Court’s response to COVID-19. In particular, the State Coroner will adjourn all inquest hearings currently scheduled to commence in Brisbane before 30 June 2020. For further information see the notice here

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

23 July 2020 – QCAT has launched an online service for minor civil disputes to assist people with keeping track of their matters before the Tribunal. The online service is available here.

15 May 2020 - Amendments to QCAT Practice Directions No. 4 and 5 of 2020

Minor amendments have been made to QCAT Practice Directions No. 4 and 5 of 2020.

Amendments to Practice Direction 4 affect paragraph [6]. Amendments to Practice Direction 5 affect paragraphs [6] and [8]. Further details on these changes are below.

 QCAT Practice No. 4 of 2020 – Minor Update

A minor amendment has been made to QCAT Practice Direction No. 4 of 2020 at [6] to reflect that: “Any other hearing (including appeal) which has been listed to be heard at 259 Queen Street, Brisbane on any date between 6 April 2020 and 31 July 2020 shall be adjourned to a date to be fixed”.

 QCAT Practice Direction No. 5 of 2020 – Minor Update

There have been two minor amendments made to QCAT Practice Direction No. 5 of 2020 at [6] and [8].

The Practice Direction now states at paragraph [6]:

  1. Within 14 days of receiving the Hearing Advice, the applicant must EITHER:

a)       file in the Tribunal any further evidence (including any affidavit or statement) which is proposed to be relied on at the hearing, together with the applicant’s written submissions in support of its claim, and give a copy of each such document to the respondent, and

b)      inform the Tribunal by email (copied by email to the respondent) of the date on which these documents were given to the respondent,

OR

c)       inform the Tribunal by email (copied by email to the respondent) that the applicant has no further evidence (including any affidavit or statement)  to be relied on at the hearing, and that the applicant is ready to proceed to hearing.

The Practice Direction now states at paragraph [8]:

  1. If a respondent has filed a counter-application against the applicant, then within 14 days of being given the respondent’s documents and submissions referred to in paragraph 7, the applicant must EITHER:

a)       file in the Tribunal any further evidence (including any affidavit or statement) which is proposed to be relied on by the applicant at the hearing in relation to the counter-application, together with the applicant’s written submissions in response to the counter-application, and give a copy of each such document to the respondent, and

b)      inform the Tribunal by email (copied by email to the respondent) of the date on which these documents were given to the respondent;

OR

c)       inform the Tribunal by email (copied by email to the applicant) that the respondent has no further evidence (including any affidavit or statement)  to be relied on in relation to the counter-application, and that the respondent is ready to proceed to hearing.

 

28 April 2020 - Two new QCAT practice directions (5 & 6) have been issued that set out procedures for Urgent and Non-Urgent Minor Civil Disputes. There has also been a minor amendment to Practice Direction 3.

QCAT Practice Direction No. 3 of 2020 – Minor Amendment  

A minor amendment has been made to QCAT Practice Direction No. 3 of 2020 to reflect that Practice Direction No. 3 does not apply to Urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy Matters to which the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 applies.  

QCAT Practice Direction No. 5 of 2020

The purpose of Practice Direction No. 5 of 2020 (now amended as at 15 May 2020) is to facilitate the hearing of non-urgent Minor Civil Dispute matters, including the matters which were adjourned under Practice Direction No. 4 of 2020.

  • The hearings are to be conducted by telephone or videoconference, unless the presiding member or adjudicator has agreed otherwise.  
  • All matters which require a hearing date to be allocated, including any matter that was adjourned under Practice Direction No. 4 of 2020, must be sent a copy of the Hearing Advice, Practice Direction 5 of 2020 and the Information Sheet.
  • The applicant must, within 14 days of receiving the Hearing Advice, comply with paragraph 6 of the Practice Direction. If the applicant does not comply, the matter will not proceed to a hearing.
  • The respondent must, within 14 days of receiving the applicant’s documents (in compliance with paragraph 6 of the Practice Direction), comply with paragraph 7 of the Practice Direction. If the respondent does not comply, the matter will proceed to a hearing not less than 21 days after the applicant’s compliance with paragraph 6 of the Practice Direction.  
  • The preferred method of filing documents is by email to the relevant registry’s email address.
  • The Practice Direction does not apply to any non-urgent minor civil dispute proceeding filed in a regional Magistrates Court registry which is to be heard by a Magistrate.

QCAT Practice Direction No. 6 of 2020

The purpose of Practice Direction No. 6 of 2020 is to provide for the process for all Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy applications to which the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 applies.

Otherwise, Practice Direction 3 of 2020 applies and continues to apply to Urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy Applications which are not COVID MCD Tenancy Matters.

  • Relevant to all minor civil dispute tenancy applications which the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 applies. The hearings are to be conducted by telephone or videoconference, unless the presiding member or adjudicator has agreed otherwise.  
  • Applications must include:
    • a completed COVID Tenancy Checklist (noting that this checklist must be completed for all residential tenancy applications during the COVID-19 emergency period).
    • all material to be relied on as evidence at the hearing (any necessary supplementary material, eg up to date rent ledger, must be emailed to the relevant registry by 4.00 pm on the afternoon before the hearing.)
    • the respondent’s last known address and telephone number.
  • If a tenant or resident is claiming to have suffered excessive hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency, they must include in their material, all evidence which they propose to rely on which establishes such hardship.
  • If the respondent intends on participating in the hearing, the respondent must email the relevant registry advising of their best contact number and attach all material they wish to rely on.

25 March 2020 - The Hon Justice Martin Daubney AM, QCAT President has published three Practice Directions which will be effective from 30 March 2020. These are:

  • Practice Direction 2 of 2020 - relating to guardianship matters; 
  • Practice Direction 3 of 2020 (now amended as at 28 April 2020) - relating to urgent MCD Tenancy Matters; and
  • Practice Direction 4 of 2020 (now amended as at 15 May 2020) - relating to all other matters. 

18 March 2020 - The Hon Justice Martin Daubney AM, QCAT President has made a Practice Direction on arrangements for the Tribunal for the week commencing 23 March 2020. The Direction outlines changes to Minor Civil Disputes, Directions Hearings and Compulsory Conferences and protocols for appearing at hearings in person. More information is available here.

General Information on QCAT proceedings is available here.

Mental Health Review Tribunal

31 March 2020 - At present, the Mental Health Review Tribunal is continuing to conduct hearings via remote conferencing facilities. It is providing regular updates to stakeholders and the public via a dedicated page on its website, available here.

Federal Court of Australia

29 June 2020 – A notice has been published here setting out the new Federal Courts and Tribunals fees payable from 1 July 2020.  This notice amends the Annual Federal Courts and Tribunals Increases Gazette Notice (previously published on 9 June 2020 in the Government Notices Gazette), due to small errors in the earlier notice.   

7 April 2020 - Chief Justice Allsop has published Special Measures in Response to COVID - Special Measures Information Note: Appeals and Full Court Hearings (SMIN-3) which sets out arrangements for the conduct and management of appeals and Full Court hearings during the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia.

1 April 2020 - Chief Justice Allsop has published Special Measures in Response to COVID - Admiralty and Maritime (SMIN-2) which relates to warrants for the arrest of ships.

31 March 2020 -  The Court has issued an updated "Special Measures Information Note (updated)". The Note provides information on:

  • Registry operations;
  • Electronic filing;
  • Signatures on documents and affidavits;
  • Subpoenas and inspection of documents;
  • Triage process for newly filed Judge matters;
  • All court listing and events, including hearings and mediations;
  • Communication with the Court and among parties;
  • Short listings and events, half a day or less;
  • Longer listings and events, over half a day;
  • Remote technology;
  • Self-represented litigants; and
  • Urgent matters.

30 March 2020 - The Court has published "Information for Court users". This advises that in urgent circumstances, face-to-face services may be provided after initial assessment via telephone. You can contact the Court on 1300 720 980. If practitioners are involved in current proceedings before the Court that are impacted by COVID-19, they are encouraged to direct enquiries for assistance, such as necessary adjournments, variations to timetables or preparation for hearings, to: Tuan Van Le, National Judicial Registrar Phone: (03) 8600 334.

23 March 2020 - The Court will close public facing counters and cease face-to face services from Tuesday, 24 March 2020. While the counters are closed, the Court is still working in registries and remotely to provide services and support practitioners and litigants via phone and other online services. In urgent circumstances, face-to-face services may be provided after initial assessment via telephone. You can contact us on the following number: 1300 720 980. 

23 March 2020 - His Honour, Chief Justice Allsop AO has issued Special Measures in Response to COVID-19 (SMIN-1). This information note sets out procedures for:
  • Registry operations;\
  • Electronic filing;
  • Signatures on documents and affidavits;
  • Subpoenas and inspection of documents;
  • Triage process for newly filed Judge matters;
  • All court listing and events, including hearings and mediations;
  • Short listings and events, half a day or less;
  • Longer listings and events, over half a day;
  • Urgent matters.

18 March 2020 - The Federal Court is communicating with parties about matters listed for hearing in the upcoming months, including how to make use of technology. 

The Federal Court of Australia will be posting key updates on their website. You can visit their homepage or ‘news and events’ page for further information.

Family Court of Australia & Federal Circuit Court of Australia

24 June 2020 - The Family Court of Australia (FCoA) and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC) have released an Update to the Profession regarding “Covid-19 Registrar and Child Dispute Services (CDS) Listing Measures and Arrangements.” In-person work will gradually increase over the coming months and the Courts have put in place a range of measures to ensure appropriate social distancing measures can be maintained in public areas. Please see the full update for procedures for Divorce Lists, FCoA Registrar Directions Lists, Discrete Property Lists, PPP500 Lists and Contravention Lists, Conferences and ADR events, FCoA Senior Registrar Lists, and Child Dispute Services (CDS).

24 June 2020 - The Family Court of Australia (FCoA) and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC) have introduced a new protocol for Child Dispute Services (CDS) In-Person Interviews. This replaces the previous protocol dated April 3 2020. It refers to the gradual resumption of in-person work over the coming months, and provides directions regarding the use of technology, scheduling of interviews/observations, and maintaining social distancing. The protocol in full can be found here.

12 June 2020 - The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have both published an 'updated face-to-face in-court protocol'. From Monday, 15 June 2020, face-to-face hearings will increase in a staggered way in accordance with a detailed risk assessment developed by the Courts. See here for the FCA protocol and here for the FCCA protocol. The protocols include details on:

  1. Listings;
  2. Courtrooms and courtroom procedure;
  3. Cleaning; and
  4. Security. 

28 April 2020 – The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia has released a Joint Practice Direction 3 of 2020 which establishes a fast-tracked, national list in each court (‘the COVID-19 list’) to allow the Courts to Swiftly deal with urgent COVID-19 applications on a national basis. The Joint Practice Direction takes effect from 28 April 2020 and remains in effect until and unless superseded or revoked.

26 April 2020 – Media Release: The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are establishing a court list dedicated to deal exclusively with urgent parenting-related disputes that have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The list will commence on 29 April 2020.

22 April 2020 - As the vast majority of appearances in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are currently being conducted electronically, the Courts have developed a Guide for Practitioners and Litigants to Virtual Hearings and Microsoft Teams to assist practitioners and litigants with the technical aspects of these appearances.

22 April 2020 – The Court has published important information for migration applicants on its website. The information includes details about directions hearings, provision of contact details, recordings of AAT hearings, court fees, hearings, costs and registry contact details.

20 April 2020 – The Court has published “Coronavirus and changes to bankruptcy laws - temporary debt relief measures” which outlines temporary changes to support individuals and business. These temporary measures will be available for six months. The temporary changes do not impact on Bankruptcy Notices issued before 25 March 2020.

14 April 2020 – The Appellate Division of the Family Court of Australia has released a Special Measure Information Note – Special Measures in Response to COVID-19 which sets out guidance on:

  • registry operations,
  • electronic filing,
  • signatures on documents and affidavits,
  • arrangements for court listings,
  • contact details for each Regional Appeal Registry, and
  • open justice considerations.

9 April 2020 - The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have published an Update to the Profession which updates the profession on:

  • Court operations;
  • Joint Practice Direction (JPD 2 of 2020);
  • Duty Lists;
  • Directions Hearings and Trials;
  • The Summer Campaign;
  • Child Dispute Services;
  • Open Court;
  • Mediation;
  • Arbitration;
  • Appeals;
  • Shared Parenting Arrangements and State and Territory Restrictions;
  • Communication with each State and Territory Attorney-General;
  • Court communication to the public
  • Judge Judy Small AM's Retirement

8 April 2029 - The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have published COVID-19: Border restrictions and shared parenting orders. These border restrictions may affect families that have court orders in place that involve shared-parenting arrangements that require children to move from one household to another, across State borders.

4 April 2020 - 
 The Queensland Chief Health Officer has made a new version of the Border Restrictions Direction and the following are now a permitted purpose for crossing the border:

  • for children under 18 years who do not live in the same household as their biological parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings, continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children and siblings, but not allowing access or contact with vulnerable groups or persons;

Example of a vulnerable group or person – a person over 70 years or a person with a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19

  • to provide assistance, care or support to an immediate family member
  • to attend any court or tribunal of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the court or tribunal of Australia


3 April 2020
- A new Child Dispute Services - in-person interview protocol has been published and is available here


31 March 2020 - The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have published Joint Practice Direction 2 of 2020 - Special Measures in Response to COVID-19 which provides information on:

  • Filing documents;
  • Subpoenas and inspection of documents;
  • Annexures to affidavits;
  • Signatures on documents and affidavits; and
  • Deferral of fee payments.

31 March 2020 - The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have today published a series of Questions and Answers for parents who may have concerns relating to parenting arrangements amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Q&As are available from the Family Court of Australiawebsite and the Federal Circuit Court website.

26 March 2020 - A Statement from the Hon Will Alstergren regarding Parenting Orders and COVID-19 has been issued. The Statement, available here, confirms that the Courts remains operational. It outlines how existing orders should be complied with and how any necessary new arrangements can be made. Parties are referred to the arrangements outlined in previous statements about telephone, video-link and face-to-face appearances. Information about Family Dispute Resolution is also provided.

24 March 2020 – There has been some misreporting that that the Family Court and Federal Circuit Courts are closing. Please note, that these courts remain open, although with some changes to the way they operate. The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have responded to the evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and have made immediate and significant changes to court operations. The aim of the new arrangements is to ensure that all urgent and priority matters are able to be dealt with safely by the courts, whilst at the same time, ensuring appropriate social distancing is adhered to. The Media Release on Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia prioritise urgent and critical cases as impact of COVID-19 escalates details these arrangements.

23 March 2020 - The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have issued an update on the measures and listing arrangements being implemented for Registrars and Child Dispute Services (CDS). The Courts will conduct work by telephone and videoconferencing where possible. Only urgent matters will be dealt with by face-to-face hearings or interviews. These will be conducted pursuant to a new face-to-face in-court protocol and a new face-to-face interview protocol. The "Update to the Profession - COVID-19 Measures and Listing Arrangements for Registrars and Child Dispute Services (CDS) 23 March 2020" provides updated details on the following:

Registrars

  • Divorce lists;
  • FCoA Registrar Directions lists;
  • Discrete Property lists, PPP500 lists and Contravention lists;
  • Conferences and ADR events;
  • FCoA Senior Registrar lists.
CDS
  • Child Dispute Conferences;
  • Child Inclusive Conferences;
  • Child Responsive Program (FCoA);
  • Family Reports.

The following protocols have been created:

These protocols may be changed at short notice given the rapidly evolving nature of the Coronavirus.

18 March 2020 - The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia released the following information: 

  • Due to the nature of family law work, including child related and family violence aspects, urgent and priority trials and contested hearings will remain listed and will be conducted in the safest manner possible
  • Non-urgent property only trials may be adjourned for an appropriate period of time, and non-urgent parenting trials will be given similar consideration but this is at the discretion of the Judge.
  • Trials or hearings that can appropriately be done by telephone will be.
  • High volume lists that are required to be conducted in person will be staggered to reduce the number of people in attendance.
  • The number of people to attend a courtroom at any one time (other than the judge and their support staff) will be limited to 8 people (‘8 person in-court cap’). 
  • Additional people involved in matters must remain outside the courtroom. 
  • Callovers in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane will be postponed until further notice.
  • Regional circuits conducted by the Federal Circuit Court (scheduled for the next two months) are under review and some matters may be adjourned or conducted by telephone. 
  • Migration matters currently listed in the Federal Circuit Court which can be conducted appropriately by telephone or videoconference should proceed. If the matter requires a hearing in person, it may be postponed subject to the urgency of the case.
  • In regard to other GFL matters (such as industrial law, human rights and consumer law) if the matter can proceed safely in person, and subject to the 8 person in-court cap, the matter may proceed at the judge’s discretion.
  • All court based events, or attendances of the judiciary or court representatives at external events, will be cancelled or postponed, or conducted by telephone or videoconference if possible.
  • The work conducted by Registrars and the Courts’ Child Dispute Service’s staff is currently under review. 
  • It is noted that Registrar migration lists have been suspended until July 2020 by the Federal Court, effective immediately. 

More information on these measures are available from the Court websites:

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia will be posting key updates on their website. You can visit their homepage or ‘latest news’ page for further information.

The Family Court of Australia will be posting key updates on their website. You can visit their homepage or ‘latest news’ page for further information.

QLS operates a “find a mediator” service through our website, where parties can access a list of mediators, who are Family Dispute Resolution Providers, in their local area. We also have mediation rooms and other facilities that remain operational during this time, in compliance with the relevant restrictions and health advice. 

Industrial Court of Queensland/Queensland Industrial Relations Commission

27 March 2020 - the Industrial Registry has issued a notice on the operations procedures of the QIRC and the Industrial Registry. The notice is available online here. The notice covers measures regarding:

  • Appearances
  • filing of documents
  • affidavits
  • applications for payment for long service leave instead of taking leave; and
  • disputes and urgent matters.

20 March 2020 - The Industrial Registry has advised that parties should make every attempt to file material in accordance with the rules. However, if they are unable to do so then a party should make a request in writing to the registry seeking the waiver of compliance with rule 10(2).  Such requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis by the Vice President. Should compliance be waived, there will be a requirement that parties give a written undertaking that they will file a properly executed affidavit prior to the matter being heard.  The exception to this rule would be for urgent applications ie those matters dealt with out of hours.

18 March 2020 - The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission advised:

  • It does not intend to alter arrangements for hearings currently scheduled before the Court and Commission. 
  • Conferences and conciliations (both scheduled and future) will be conducted by telephone. Parties and representatives seeking to conduct conferences and conciliations by teleconference should email such a request to the Industrial Registry, QIRC via Registry@qirc.qld.gov.au.
  • All planned circuits are under consideration and an assessment will be made when further information and advice is made available.
  • The Commission does not currently propose to change the arrangements for urgent and after hours matters. However, each application will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
  • The Commission will be posting key updates on its website via the 'News and Notices' page.

17 March 2020 - The Industrial Registry issued a notice regarding forthcoming changes to sitting procedures to minimise the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19). The notice is available online here. The notice covers measures regarding:

  • Hearings
  • conferences and conciliations
  • circuit hearings
  • general advice for parties and representatives; and
  • urgent applications.

Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission's website has a useful page, Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates & advice, which provides updates specific to the Commission.

8 May 2020 - The President of the Fair Work Commission issued a statement in relation to the Commission's coronavirus response. The statement provides advice on:

  1. JobKeeper dispute jurisdiction
  2. Awards varied in response to COVID-19
  3. Varying enterprise agreements in response to COVID-19
  4. The Commission’s New Approaches Program
  5. Maintaining service provision during the COVID-19 pandemic
  6. The Justice Innovation Hub
  7. Operation of the Commission
  8. COVID-19 updates and advice
  9. Urgent applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  10. Avenue for stakeholder feedback

22 April 2020 – The Fair Work Commission Rules 2013 in respect of completing declarations have been amended due to COVID-19 health advice. The Rule changes have been registered and will come into effect on Friday, 1 May 2020: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L00471

Prior to 1 May 2020, As an interim measure, a person who is having trouble getting a statutory declaration witnessed as a consequence of COVID-19 can:

  • sign the form and lodge it as a declaration without having it witnessed, and
  • ask the Member dealing with the matter to dispense with the requirement for a statutory declaration to be lodged, pursuant to rule 6 of the Rules.

The Member will consider the circumstances and decide whether to accept the signed declaration.

25 March 2020 - The Fair Work Commission (FWC) issued the following update - "FWC counters closed, no longer accepting hard copy applications".The update outlines the process for applications, including urgent applications.

23 March 2020 - The Fair Work Commission (FWC) issued "Update – FWC Coronavirus (COVID-19) response". The Update confirms that applications can be made online. The FWC is taking steps to minimise face-to-face hearings. The FWC will send weekly subscriber emails with updates about its COVID-19 response through the ‘Announcements’ subscription service. You can manage your subscriptions on the Commission’s website.

17 March 2020 - The Fair Work Commission (FWC) issued the following advice:

  • Hearings and conferences will be conducted by telephone wherever possible,
  • Urgent applications, such as applications to vary enterprise agreements or other instruments to deal with the consequences of COVID-19 can be sent to COVID19Applications@fwc.gov.au.
  • Non-urgent applications can be lodged in the usual way.

Further information is available via the FWC website.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

12 June 2020 - The AAT has released a statement. They outline that while in-person hearings have not yet resumed they have been able to hear matters remotely. The statement also outlines steps the AAT are taking in preparation for the resumption of in-person hearings.

28 April 2020 - The President has issued five special measures practice directions that set out how the AAT will continue to operate while COVID-19 impacts their services. These make changes to some aspects of their operations and procedures and to obligations of parties to reviews in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The special measures practice directions may take precedence over other directions that deal with the same matter.

These directions are in effect from Wednesday 29 April 2020 for the following divisions:

25 March 2020 -  The AAT is closed to all visitors from Thursday 26 March 2020 until further notice. You can:

The AAT has put range of temporary measures in place, including to conduct hearings and conferences by video or telephone, or to postpone them where this is not possible. We have also temporarily suspended the issuing of non-urgent summonses. AAT staff remain available to answer your telephone and email enquiries, process applications and deliver other services in support of AAT members and Tribunal users.

25 March 2020 - The AAT will temporarily cease ‘in person’ hearings, conferences and other events at its registries and instead aim, where possible, to deal with the cases by telephone or video link. The AAT will contact impacted parties to discuss alternative arrangements.

18 March 2020 - The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal) has introduced temporary measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19, while it continues to operate as follows:

  • All people attending the Tribunal in person will be asked to complete a brief risk questionnaire before confirming their attendance and then again when they arrive for their scheduled event.
  • If a risk is identified, or a person declines to provide information, the Tribunal will postpone or make other arrangements to hold the event.
  • Friends, family members and other observers who are not direct participants in hearings or conference processes will not be permitted to enter hearing/conference rooms.
  • The Tribunal will contact applicants, parties and representatives directly to make alternative arrangements for their conferences and hearings, where this is necessary.
  • Applicants, parties and representatives should update their contact information using one of our contact methods.
  • Further information can be found at the Tribunal’s website.

High Court of Australia

20 March 2020 - The Court has issued Practice Direction 1 of 2020 Electronic Filing of Documents - Cases Commenced Before 1 January 2020 and Practice Direction 2 of 2020 Opening of the Registry.

18 March 2020 - Following the adoption of policies restricting travel and meetings and remote workplace arrangements it has been decided that the High Court of Australia will not be sitting in Canberra or on circuit in the months of April, May and June. The question of future sittings will be reviewed in June. The Court will continue to deliver judgments and deal with special leave applications including hearings as necessary at individual registries and will hear any urgent matters that may arise by video link between registries and Canberra. Any enquiries should be directed to enquiries@hcourt.gov.au

Legal Services Commission

27 March 2020 - The Legal Services Commission understands there may be concerns about its service levels as a result of COVID-19. It will continue to monitor the situation in relation to the COVID-19 virus and Australia’s mitigation responses to it. 

The Commission is responsible for the regulation of the legal profession. It is taking seriously its responsibility as members of a caring community with the need to continue to discharge our statutory obligations and functions.

It is currently operating with a full team of staff and is implementing the recommended precautions from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer to minimise the risk to staff, their families and the wider community. This will include staff working remotely at various times until normal operations can be resumed.

During this time it encourages all communications with the Commission to be sent by email to lsc@lsc.qld.gov.au. This will be the most effective method of communication when phones may be problematic and posted mail or deliveries will not be able to be received.

Steps are being taken to ensure continuity of minimum service operations and the Commission will do its best to keep you informed of any further changes.

Admissions Ceremonies

8 June 2020 the Supreme Court of Queensland has released an Amended Practice Direction Number 9 of 2020. The Practice Direction updates procedures for admissions in Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and Rockhampton.

9 April 2020 - The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has published Practice Direction 9 of 2020 - Admission to the Legal Profession. The practice direction sets out the requirements for admission, which vary according to each court region.

31 March 2020 - All admissions ceremonies throughout Queensland are now temporarily suspended. The Chief Justice of Queensland appreciates applicants’ concerns and is seeking urgent amendments to the Supreme Court (Admissions) Rules 2004 to allow the resumption of admissions hearings through processes consistent with an appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further updates will be provided as a matter of priority.

30 March 2020 - The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has declared that the 6 April 2020 admissions of new practitioners cannot proceed. Please refer to the Notice published by the Court. All of those applications for admission will be adjourned to a date to be fixed, but no further advertising will be required. The situation will be reviewed in the interim and further notice given accordingly. 

23 March 2020 - A notice regarding the interim management of admissions ceremonies in Brisbane is attached here and will soon be published on the Queensland Courts website.

18 March 2020 - A notice regarding the interim management of admissions ceremonies in Brisbane has been recently published on the Queensland Courts website.

Legal Aid Queensland

The Legal Aid Queensland website contains several announcements regarding changes to the duty lawyer scheme and office closures.