As we all know things are changing rapidly and Court and Tribunal matters are no different.
All of the Courts and Tribunals (NCAT) have set up systems and procedures that keep the wheels of Government moving along. So in reality whilst there will be obvious disruptions to some services and the gathering of information and evidence, the Courts and Tribunals have advised that they will be business as usual (as best as that can be).
Generally, all Courts/Tribunals have suspended in person attendances; where possible all matters will be dealt with via email or teleconference. Multiparty hearings may be adjourned to a later date.
Substantive hearings may be conducted by telephone or audio visual link, where appropriate, at the discretion of the Member presiding and depending upon the availability of the required technology.
Directions hearings, callovers, conciliation conferences and some other interlocutory hearings will be conducted where possible by telephone or audio visual link, rather than in person.
Return of Summons lists will be conducted by telephone.
NSW Supreme Court, District & and Local Court
All new jury trials in the NSW Supreme and District courts have been suspended. Where possible, all pre-trial orders will be communicated via email.
Notices of Motion and the review list will be conducted by teleconference without the need for the legal practitioner to appear. Any argument by a party is to be limited to no more than 15 minutes (good luck getting a lawyer to talk for less!).
The hearing of matters before an Assessor in the Small Claims division of the Local Court will take place by teleconference. The physical appearance of a party will not be required.
Many final hearings are being vacated to be heard later in the year.
Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court & Family Court
You may have seen in the news the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court registries in Sydney were closed on Tuesday, 17 March 2020 after a legal practitioner tested positive for Covid 19.
Unless specifically and individually accepted by the Court, all Federal Court of Australia listings that require in person attendance, including mediations and listings are being conducted by telephone or video link and matters listed for final hearing listed up to 30 June 2020, are being vacated to a date later in the year. The Court is examining, as a matter of urgency, its capability to facilitate listings and hearings by remote access technology, without requiring in person attendance.
What do Owners Corporations/Community Associations do?
Fundamentally your matter will proceed as normal where possible (with a probable extended timeframe for evidence and information sharing). Contact the lawyer in charge of your matter for an update on where things are at and where they are going.