The Supreme Court of Western Australia has issued a Public Notice regarding the current COVID-19 Pandemic. The Notice issued the below directions that are effective immediately:
Any person who has flu-like symptoms or who has travelled overseas in the last 14 days is directed not to enter the Court precincts (including courtrooms, hearing rooms and registries) in any of the Court’s locations. This direction applies to court staff, legal practitioners, parties, witnesses, media, contractors and members of the public.
Legal practitioners or parties impacted by this direction should immediately contact the associate to the judicial officer before whom their matter is listed. Contact details may be found on the Court’s website.
While the Court remains open to the public, the Court recommends that only legal practitioners, parties, witnesses and media should attend court hearings. Other members of the public are requested not to attend.
Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal Office is now closed to the public.
Unless otherwise ordered, all appearances in person at appeal hearings are suspended.
Both criminal appeal and civil appeal hearings will be conducted by telephone unless all parties are represented by counsel and all counsel have access to video conferencing facilities, which may then be used.
An offender in a criminal appeal will appear by video link. If that is not practicable, then attendance is to be by telephone.
If the appeal involves the calling of witnesses, only counsel and any self-represented party must be present in the courtroom. Appropriate social distancing measures will be applied. Witnesses must appear by video link from a remote location.
Status Conferences and Directions Hearings
Unless otherwise ordered, all appearances in person at status conferences and directions hearings are suspended.
Status conferences and directions hearings will be conducted by telephone unless all parties are represented by counsel and all counsel have access to video conferencing facilities, which may then be used.
Public Access to Court 1 and Court 3
The media and members of the public may attend a hearing in the Court of Appeal, but must sit in the upstairs gallery of Court 1 or Court 3. No person will be allowed into the well of the Court except the Judges and the personal staff of the Judges who are hearing the case (and security where required).
Supreme Court – General Division
The Registry is now closed to the public.
Legal practitioners or parties seeking to inspect documents produced under subpoena must make arrangements in advance to avoid unnecessary attendances at the Court building.
Chambers Hearings, Judgment Delivery and General Division Appeals
Wherever possible, all directions hearings, case management conferences and strategic conferences will be conducted by telephone. Legal practitioners or parties involved in such hearings should contact the associate to the judicial officer before whom the matter is listed.
Wherever possible, delivery of judgment will be conducted by telephone or on the papers by prior arrangement. Arrangements will be made by the associate to the judicial officer concerned.
Wherever possible, contested chambers hearings and General Division appeals (civil and criminal) will be conducted by telephone or on the papers by prior arrangement. Arrangements will be made by the associate to the judicial officer concerned.
The conduct of jury trials has been suspended, to be reviewed prior to 1 May 2020.
Criminal trials before judge alone will only occur in courtrooms that can ensure appropriate social distancing. If a criminal trial cannot be conducted in this way it will be vacated.
Save in exceptional circumstances, documents (other than exhibits) should not be handed up in open court. Additional documents to be provided by counsel or parties should be provided, electronically, in advance of the hearing.
Additionally, the Children’s Court of Western Australia has issued a Public Notice regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Notice issued the below directions that are effective immediately:
At the present time all trials and hearing remain listed and will proceed.
To minimise the risk of infection to staff and court users the following procedures will be implemented until further notice:
All court users are encouraged to consider alternatives to appearing in person. The Registry can be contacted on 08 9218 0100 to discuss other arrangements. Where possible, attendance by telephone or video link will be organised subject to the following guidelines.
Trial requires the physical presence of the accused. Plea, bail variation and sentencing can be dealt with by video or telephone link in appropriate cases at the discretion of the Court. Arrangements should be made with the Registry in advance. Adjournments can be dealt with by video or telephone link or by consent in the absence of the accused and counsel.
Documents may not be handed up in court. They must be provided electronically beforehand.
Children in Custody
Detainees will only be brought up in person on overnight arrests and for trial. All other appearances will be by video link from Banksia Hill unless the presiding judicial officer orders otherwise.
Restraining Order Matters
New applications and final order hearings will continue to be heard in person. Adjournments can be dealt with by video or telephone link or by consent in the absence of the parties.
The parties are encouraged to apply and arrange for witnesses to attend by video or audio link. Application can be made on the day of the hearing but arrangements should preferably be made in advance.
Entry to the Perth Children’s Court
The following people are NOT permitted to enter the Perth Children’s Court building:
- People who have flu like symptoms
- People who should be in isolation or quarantine
- The general public
Court users will only be permitted in the court when their matter is called.
Unless permitted by security on entry to the building or ordered otherwise by the presiding judicial officer:
- Accused and offenders may only be accompanied to court by their responsible adult and lawyer
- Parties in protection and care and restraining order matters may only be accompanied by their lawyer and one other person
People who enter the building must comply with safe hygiene rules:
- Wash your hands on entry and before leaving the building
- Avoid personal contact (stay 1.5 metres away from others)
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your arm, not your hands. Dispose of the tissue in a in and wash your hands.
Although we at Kate King Legal currently have no incidences of COVID-19 in our staff or their close contacts, we have set down a policy regarding office meetings. Please contact us directly should you wish to know more. The priority of Kate King Legal at this difficult time is the health and safety of its clients and staff. Your patience is appreciated.
Kate King Legal is a boutique firm of experienced criminal defence lawyers who practice in the Perth CBD. We specialise in criminal law, restraining orders and traffic law. If you need a specialist criminal defence lawyer to help you with any issues relating to restraining orders, criminal charges or any traffic matters please call us on (08) 9467 3333 or click here to fill out an online enquiry.