Changes to court operations - COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Changes to court operations - COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The District Court has made changes to its operations to reduce the risk of the spread of Coronavirus. Before attending a court please read the important information below about operations at the District Court and contact details.

Attend court virtually 

From 28 February in person appearances are permitted although a Judge may continue to require persons in custody to appear remotely. Criminal and Civil lists will continue to be conducted remotely.

Further details are available in the COVID-19 update for the 28 February 2022 and Practice note 27 for criminal trials -

The District Court encourages appearances by way of the AVL system (Virtual Courtroom) during periods of COVID-19 community transmission. Please note the updates as provided by the District Court during these periods.

Legal practitioners who are appearing before the court using the Virtual Courtroom are expected to familiarise themselves with the Virtual Courtroom User Guide (PDF , 73.0 KB).

For more information about the use of the Virtual Courtroom appearances please contact your legal representative.

Physical distancing measures in court

When in-person appearances are permitted, the use of the Virtual Courtroom is still available and encouraged during periods of COVID-19 transmission in the community. Please check the most recent District Court updates for guidance on personal appearances. 

The general policy of the court is to limit personal appearances where possible during periods of COVID-19 community transmission. During these periods when physical distancing measures are in place in NSW, the courtroom must not exceed the maximum court capacity as determined by the Sheriff of NSW (based on the principles of 4m² spacing per person and 1.5m spacing between people). The Court Room capacity is identified in signage at the entrance to the court room. 

If you are representing yourself

If you are representing yourself and require more information about your matter contact the Courts Service Centre before attending the District Court. You can send an email to nswcsc@justice.nsw.gov.au or call between 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays on 1300 679 272. 

Jury trials

Additional measures are in place to make Jury Trials safer where required. This includes Rapid Antigen Screening (RAS). 

RAS allows the prompt identification of COVID-19 infection and is another tool to support the pandemic response. It does not replace the usual mask-wearing, hand hygiene, distancing rules and vaccination efforts to reduce community spread. 

For further information about Jury Trials please see the District Court Practice Note 27 available here

Court Participants should contact their legal representatives regarding further information on the measures being put in place for Jury Trials. 

The wellbeing of jurors and court users is important and physical distancing is being practiced in accordance with health advice provided to the Sheriff of NSW. 

For all queries about jury duty, contact the juror information line on 1300 780 199 or visit www.juror.nsw.gov.au

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF , 198.6 KB)

Personal appearances in the District Court (Criminal)

During periods of community transmission the use of Virtual Court Room technology will be encouraged where appropriate and practicable. Court participants should review the most recent guidance of the District Court that will be provided in the District Court updates here.

Defendants in custody

The Court will continue to hear, consistent with health advice, all criminal matters where the defendant is in custody. 

Practitioners are encouraged to notify the Court of:

  1. Sentence hearings requiring priority, particularly those defendants whose time on remand is approaching the period likely to be served on sentence.
  2. Local Court appeals where the appellant has been sentenced to a full-time custodial sentence. 

The Court may prioritise a hearing if the prosecution and defendant are ready for an earlier hearing date. 

Defendants not in custody

If you have questions, contact the Courts Service Centre before attending the District Court. You can send an email to nswcsc@justice.nsw.gov.au or call between 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays on  1300 679 272.

Personal appearances in the District Court (Civil)

The Civil Jurisdiction has in person appearances from 28 February 2022.

The use of a virtual courtroom is also available when required.  Before making any request for a virtual courtroom for all or part of a hearing the parties must confer and confirm the request is made jointly and by consent.  If the parties cannot consent, the parties may request a listing for any application to conduct the hearing remotely.

Any request by consent for virtual courtroom may be made to the Manager, Civil Case Management and Listings by email at least seven days prior to the date fixed for hearing. Any request for a listing for any application for leave to conduct a hearing remotely or a witness to give evidence remotely may be emailed to judicialregistrar@justice.nsw.gov.au Further details are available in the procedural updates available here.

Applications to vary bail

Applications to vary bail are now permitted in-person..

For more information on Bail Application Process during COVID-19 community transmission events, read the Bail application procedures available here.

Questions about court attendance

If you are unable to attend court, or if you are unsure, please contact the Courts Service Centre via email to nswcsc@justice.nsw.gov.au or call between 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays on 1300 679 272.

Last updated:

02 May 2022

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