COVID-19: archive: Exemptions and amendments in force for the administration of justice and corrections in Australian states and territories to 11 December 2020 | Practical Law

COVID-19: archive: Exemptions and amendments in force for the administration of justice and corrections in Australian states and territories to 11 December 2020 | Practical Law

This resource is an archived historical overview of the exemptions and amendments in force for the administration of justice and corrections in each Australian state and territory that were implemented up until 11 December 2020 in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

COVID-19: archive: Exemptions and amendments in force for the administration of justice and corrections in Australian states and territories to 11 December 2020

by Practical Law Australia
Law stated as at 11 Dec 2020Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Federal...New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
This resource is an archived historical overview of the exemptions and amendments in force for the administration of justice and corrections in each Australian state and territory that were implemented up until 11 December 2020 in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Please click the "View Resource History" link to the right for information regarding updates to this resource during 2020.

About this document

This document is no longer maintained for currency. It provides a historical, archived collection of the exemptions and amendments in force for the administration of justice and corrections that were implemented in 2020 in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in each Australian jurisdiction.
All references to currency within this document should be read as being current only up unitl the time the document was date stamped on 11 December 2020.
For current information on key legislation and regulations in force in 2021 relating to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, see our streamlined and maintained overview of key legislative responses Checklist, COVID-19: Key Australian legislation and legislative instruments to 3 March 2021.
For more information on the key legislative developments that occurred in 2020 relating to the emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, see Checklist, COVID-19: archive: Key Australian legislation and legislative instruments to 11 December 2020.
This resource is a historical overview of the exemptions and amendments in force for the administration of justice and corrections that were implemented in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in each Australian jurisdiction, including references to the relevant legislation.
For a guide to Practical Law Australia's resources that assist lawyers advising Australian businesses in relation to legal, practical and commercial issues arising from COVID-19, see Toolkit, Practical Law Australia's guide to COVID-19 resources.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

This section sets out the legislative exemptions and amendments in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in response to COVID-19.
A public health emergency has been declared in the ACT in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current declaration of public health emergency, see the ACT legislation website.
A list of the relevant instruments issued by the ACT Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the ACT Government's COVID-19 website: Public Health Directions.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the ACT Government's COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to the ACT's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the ACT Law Society's COVID-19 website.
The following exemptions were in force across the ACT in 2020.
Some of the amendments under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (ACT) are designed to operate for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. In this section, references to the "end of the COVID-19 emergency" mean the end of the emergency declared under section 119 of the Public Health Act 1997 (ACT) (including any extension or further extension) in relation to COVID-19 (or, if declared, a state of emergency under section 156 of the Emergencies Act 2004 in relation to COVID-19).

Justice exemptions

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instruments
Pre-recorded evidence
Allows for a new regulation to make provision for the use of pre-recorded evidence in criminal trials to temporarily allow the recording by the court of evidence by a witness in a proceeding including:
  • How the evidence must or may be given for the proceeding. 
  • Any procedural or other matters.
The day the Public Health (Emergency) Declaration 2020 (No 1), as extended or further extended, ends.
During the COVID-19 emergency an undertaking for a continuation of bail may be made in writing or given before the court and, if given before the court, must be recorded by the court.
8 April 2021
Good behaviour undertakings by audio-visual links
Good behaviour undertakings may be provided through audio-visual links and recorded by the court.
8 April 2021.
Judge-only hearings
  • Provisions permitting judge-only hearings of criminal proceedings have been repealed following the decision of the Supreme Court to recommence the conduct of jury trials with special measures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements. 
  • Transitional provisions are in place to make clear that amendments do not affect any order or notice issued about an intention to make an order for judge-only trials where they were issued before commencement.
 
Alteration of time periods for court procedures
During a COVID-19 emergency the following time periods may be amended:
  • Adjournment periods for care and protection reasons under section 74K for indictment proceedings against a child or young person extended from a maximum period of 15 days to a longer period if the court considers it appropriate and the period of two days for the court to provide reasons for action under section 74K is extended to a period that is as soon as practicable in the circumstances.
The end of the COVID-19 emergency.
Extension of orders in domestic violence cases and use of audio-visual communication
  • Allows for extension of interim orders in domestic violence cases for a period of six months where an interim order ends, will end or is likely to end during the COVID-19 emergency period.
  • Allows for the party or the party's legal representative to be present by telephone or other electronic audio-visual means.
  • Allows for the party, or the party's legal representative to give consent by telephone or by other electronic audio-visual means.
  • Allows for a respondent to give undertakings in writing or before the court.
The end of the COVID-19 emergency and no later than 8 April 2021
Search Warrants: Electronic Affidavits
  • Allows for the making of electronic affidavits in regard to giving information on oath for search warrants (under section 194(1) and (2)) and the issuing of electronic warrants.
  • Allows for the issuing of electronic warrants under section 205 without the need to complete a form of warrant under certain conditions.
The end of the COVID-19 emergency.
Section 194A, Crimes Act 1900
Pre-sentence report and intensive correction assessment 
  • During a COVID-19 emergency, the court may order that an intensive correction assessment will form part of a pre- sentence report.
8 April 2021
Witnessing and attestation of certain documents by audiovisual link.
During the COVID-19 emergency period, nowithstanding any other territory law:
  • A signature that is required to be witnessed under law in regard to an affidavit, a will, a health direction (under the Medical Treatment (Health Directions) Act 2006) or a general power of attorney (under the Powers of Attorney Act 2006) may be witnessed by audio-visual link. 
  • The following arrangements in relation to witnessing signatures and the attestation of documents may be made by audio-visual link:
    • certifying matters required under a territory law;
    • swearing or affirming the contents of an affidavit.
  • A requirement in a territory law for the presence of a witness, signatory or other person is satisfied if the witness, signatory or other person is present by audio-visual link.
  • A person witnessing one of the above documents by audio visual link must:
    • observe the person signing the document in real time;
    • confirm the signature was witnessed by signing the document or a copy of the document (for example, sign a counterpart of the document as soon as practicable after witnessing the signing of the document, countersign a scanned copy of the document signed by the signatory as soon as practicable after witnessing the signing of the document);
    • be reasonably satisfied the document the witness signs is the same document, or a copy of the document, signed by the signatory; and
    • endorse the document (or copy) with a statement of the method used to witness the signature and that the document was witnessed in accordance with the legislation.
The end of the COVID-19 emergency

Corrections exemptions

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instruments
Detainee restrictions
Allows for declaration of emergency in relation to COVID-19 which allows the director-general to take reasonable and necessary action including:
  • Restricting detainees' access to work or other activities.
  • Restricting access to parts of the detention centre.
  • Restricting a detainee's access to another person.
The end of the COVID-19 emergency.
Breach of detainee obligations (intensive correction, good behaviour and parole)
  • Provides for amended processes, during a COVID-19 emergency, where a corrections officer believes on reasonable grounds that:
    • an offender has breached intensive correction order obligations (section 59A, 62(2)(d));
    • an offender has breached any of the offender's good behaviour obligations (section 102A); and
    • an offender has breached any of the offender's parole obligations (section 143A).
  • Requires that guidelines must be made by the director-general in regard to officer's actions for the above breaches and these guidelines will be notifiable instruments (section 322AA).
Applies during the period of a COVID-19 emergency.
Extended leave permits
  • Grants power to the director-general to extend local leave permits, for a range of reasons including compassionate reasons, up to 28 days subject to reasonable conditions.
  • A leave permit may be granted for up to three months for long-term medical treatment or palliative care. The leave may only be granted on the advice of an appointed doctor.
8 April 2021.
  • During a COVID-19 emergency, increases the maximum number of hours a detainee (other than a young detainee) may be detained continuously at a police cell from 36 hours to 48 hours.
  • Allows, and provides for, a COVID-19 leave permit which may be granted by the director-general to a detainee during a COVID-19 emergency, whether or not the detainee's non-parole period has ended, in circumstances where the director-general considers the permit supports good order and reduces the likelihood of a COVID-19 outbreak or spread (excludes detainees convicted of a serious violent offence (as defined), a sexual offence (as defined), a family violence offence(as defined).
6 August 2020.
Young detainees:
  • Grants the director-general power to issue a young detainee a COVID-19 local leave permit allowing a young detainee to be absent from a detention place for the period the director-general considers appropriate but for no longer than seven days after the end of the declared public health emergency in the ACT.
  • Grants the director-general power to issue extended interstate leave permits to young detainees for leave related to the COVID-19 emergency but not longer than seven days after the end of the declared public health emergency.
  • Amends wording in numerous provisions from "the COVID-19 emergency" to "a COVID-19 emergency".
  • Makes provision for the COVID-19 local leave permit:
    • as a lawful temporary absence from detention under section 245; and
    • in lieu of leave permits where a breach of conditions will amount to a behaviour breach under section 287.
At the end of a seven day period during which no COVID-19 emergency has been in force.
Managing non-compliance with community based conditions
  • Provides guidance for community corrections officers to apply discretion when managing non-compliance during COVID-19 in place of the legislative requirement to report all alleged breaches to the Court or Sentence Administration Board.
 

New South Wales (NSW)

This section sets out the legislative exemptions and amendments in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in New South Wales (NSW) in response to COVID-19.
A list of the relevant instruments issued by the NSW Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the NSW Legislation website: Noticeboard: COVID-19 legislation.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the NSW Government COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to NSW's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the Law Society of NSW's COVID-19 website.

Justice exemptions

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instruments
Pre-recorded evidence
A court may, on its own motion, order that a witness in a district court or supreme court trial may give pre-recorded evidence where the person is a complainant in sexual offence, domestic violence, serious violence offences or any complainant or witness at a significantly greater risk from the COVID-19 pandemic including because of their age or health provided:
  • The accused person has sought and received advice from an Australian legal practitioner.
  • Both parties have been heard on the order.
  • All pre-trial disclosure and case management requirements under Division 3 of Part 3 of Chapter 3, Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) have been satisfied.
  • The court is satisfied it is in the interests of justice to do so.
26 March 2021.
Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW)
Use of recorded evidence in subsequent proceedings
Original recorded evidence of a witness in a trial may be used in a new trial (if the original trial is discontinued for any reason and a new trial is ordered or a new trial is ordered following a successful appeal).
26 March 2021.
Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW)
Judge-only hearings
A court may, on its own motion, order that an accused person be tried by a judge alone. A court may only make such an order if:
  • The accused person consents to be tried by a judge alone or, for a joint trial, all the accused consent.
  • If the prosecutor does not agree to the accused being tried by a judge alone.
  • The court considers it is in the interests of justice for the accused to be tried by a judge alone.
  • The court is satisfied the accused person has sought legal advice in relation to the effect of the order.
26 March 2021.
Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW)
Regulation-making power for criminal proceedings
  • Regulation-making power introduced for altered arrangements for criminal trials, pre-trial procedures, apprehended violence order proceedings (including provisional and interim orders), matters relating to bail and sentencing and matters relating to the administration of sentences. 
  • The Minister may only recommend to the Governor that regulations be made under this provision provided Parliament is not currently sitting and is not likely to sit within two weeks after the day the regulations are made and in the Minister's opinion, the arrangements made by the regulations are in accordance with the advice issued by the Minister for Health and Medical Research or the Chief Health Officer and the regulations are reasonable to protect the health, safety and welfare of people in relation to the administration of justice.
  • Regulations proposed in regard to criminal trial procedures, pretrial procedures, apprehended violence order proceedings and matters relating to bail and sentencing must be approved by the Chief Justice, or the head of the relevant jurisdiction (where relevant).
26 March 2021.
Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW)
Parole
The following classes of inmates are eligible for release on parole by the Commissioner of Corrective Services during the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • An inmate whose health is at higher risk during the COVID-19 pandemic because of an existing medical condition or vulnerability.
  • An inmate whose earliest possible release date is within 12 months.
  • Certain categories of inmates are excluded from being released on parole by the Commissioner under section 276 of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW).
26 March 2021.
Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW)
  • The State Parole Authority may make an order releasing an offender who is sentenced to imprisonment for three years or less and who is in custody following revocation of the offender’s statutory parole order.
  • The State Parole Authority will be required to consider releasing an offender on parole at least 60 days before the offender’s parole eligibility date, except in the case of an offender whose statutory parole order is revoked prior to release.
26 March 2021.
Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW)
Indictment proceedings excluded from audio-visual link 
Proceedings on indictment are excluded from proceedings where an accused person may appear by way of audio visual link.
26 March 2021.
Evidence (Audio and Audio Visual Links) Act 1998 (NSW)  
Court security
  • Allows a security officer to require a person who is entering court premises to submit to a thermal imaging scan or temperature check, or to answer questions about their health or potential exposure to COVID-19. If the person does not immediately comply with the requirement, they must leave the court premises for the remainder of the day.
  • Gives a security officer power, in relation to a person who has exhibited or reported a sign of illness (including fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell), to:
    • require the person to leave court premises for the remainder of the day; or
    • refuse the person entry to court premises.
  • Creates an offence where a person does not comply with a security officer's direction to leave court premises.
  • If a person is required to be in court premises because they are a:
    • party to proceedings;
    • legal practitioner;
    • witness;
    • juror; or
    • support person,
    the security officer must:
    • give the person written notice stating that the person was required to leave or refused entry to court premises; and
    • immediately advise the court that the person was required to leave or refused entry to court premises.
26 March 2021.
Court Security Act 2005 (NSW)
Written pleas
Allows an accused person to lodge a written plea of guilty or not guilty under section 182 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW).
26 March 2021.
Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW)
Regulation-making power for altered arrangements for documents and information
Extends the regulation-making power in section 17 of the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 (NSW) to provide for altered arrangements in relation to requirements in any Act about documents or information, including altered  arrangements  for  the  filing,  lodgement, submission, giving, inspection or service of information, a notice or other document.
26 March 2021.
Electronic Transactions Act 2000 (NSW)
Audio visual link in court proceedings
  • Provides for an accused person who is not in custody to appear by audio visual link in certain proceedings.
  • Requires the court to consider certain factors before directing an appearance by way of audio visual link.
  • Restores the existing arrangements for government agency witnesses, under which a government agency witness is to give evidence by way of audio visual link unless the court otherwise directs.
26 March 2021.
Evidence (Audio and Audio Visual Links) Act 1998 (NSW)
Sheriff powers
  • Allows the Sheriff, with the approval of the Secretary of the Department of Communities and Justice, to enter into an agreement with the head of another Public Service agency to enable a sheriff’s officer to assist that other agency in its COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • Grants a sheriff’s officer the power to issue directions to persons when providing that assistance. If the first direction is not complied with, a second direction may be issued.
  • Creates an offence for failing to comply with a second direction from a sheriff's officer.
  • Allows a sheriff’s officer, in certain limited circumstances, to enter premises or arrest or detain a person if the person has failed to comply with a second direction or if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the power must be exercised urgently or a direction will be insufficient.
26 March 2021.
Sheriff Act 2005 (NSW)

Corrections exemptions

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instruments
Correctional premises restrictions
The Commissioner of Corrective Services and the Secretary of the Department of Communities and Justice may prohibit or restrict any person or class of persons (with exceptions) from entering or visiting a correctional premise (including a correctional complex, a correctional centre, a residential facility or a transitional centre) in NSW if satisfied it is reasonably necessary to protect the health of an inmate or any other person or the public from the public health risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
26 March 2021.
Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW)
Parole
The Commissioner of Corrective Services may grant parole, before a non-parole period, to a class of inmates as prescribed by the regulations for potential conditional release if the Commissioner is satisfied that the release is reasonably necessary because of the risk to public health or to the good order and the security of the correctional centre as a result of COVID-19. Certain classes of offenders will be automatically disqualified from consideration for early parole including:
  • Inmates serving a sentence for murder.
  • Serious sex offenders or offenders serving sentences for crimes of a sexual nature.
  • Terrorism offenders.
  • Inmates serving life sentences.
26 March 2021.
Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW)
Children's community service orders
  • Allows a court to make a children's community service order even where work is not available, if:
    • the court is not satisfied that community service work can be provided for the person because those arrangements have been or may be affected by the COVD-19 pandemic; and
    • the court is satisfied that community service work is likely to be provided for the person before the end of the relevant maximum period.
  • Allows a person under a children's community service order to present themselves for work by audio link or audio visual link.
26 March 2021.
Children (Community Service Orders) Act 1987 (NSW)
Examination on detention in mental health facility
Allows for the examination of a person who is detained in a mental health facility (including on the order of a magistrate or bail officer, or on apprehension by police) by a medical profession or other accredited person for the purpose of determining whether the detained person is a mentally ill person or a mentally disordered person, to be conducted by audio visual link.
26 September 2020 unless otherwise prescribed by regulation (but no later than 26 March 2021).
Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW)

Northern Territory (NT)

This section sets out the legislative exemptions and amendments currently in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in the Northern Territory (NT) in response to COVID-19.
A public health emergency has been declared in the NT in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current declaration of public health emergency, see the NT legislation website.
A list of the instruments issued by the NT Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the NT Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19) website: Chief Health Officer Directions.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the NT Government's COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to the NT's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the NT Law Society's COVID-19 website.
Exemptions and amendments
In force until
Relevant instruments
Lawyer exemption from quarantine restrictions
Provides an exemption from the requirement that persons entering the NT quarantine for 14 days after arrival for Australian lawyers who are entering the NT for the purpose of appearing in court, where in person appearance is required, so long as the lawyer practices social distancing measures.
The end of the declared public health emergency.
Police blood testing for COVID-19
COVID-19 has been prescribed as an infectious disease for the purposes of the Police Administration Act 1978 (NT). This allows members of the police force to apply for blood testing of a person whose blood, saliva or faeces transferred to the member in the course of the person:
  • Committing an assault against the member.
  • Being apprehended or detained by the member. 
Not specified.

Queensland (Qld)

This section sets out the legislative exemptions and amendments in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in Queensland (Qld) in response to COVID-19.
A public health emergency has been declared in Qld in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current declaration of public health emergency, see the Qld legislation website.
A list of the relevant instruments issued by the Qld Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the Queensland Health website: Chief Health Officer public health directions.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the Qld Government's COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to Qld's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the Qld Law Society's COVID-19 website.

Justice exemptions

Exemptions/Amendments
In force until
Relevant instruments
Regulation-making power
  • Regulation-making power, and power of court, to modify statutory time limits under specified provisions relating to proceedings, for example, in relation to:
    • commencement of, or taking a step in, proceedings;
    • making a complaint in relation to an offence;
    • presenting an indictment for an offence;
    • lodging an appeal, giving notice of an appeal or notice of application for leave to appeal; and
    • making, or giving reasons of, a decision.
  • Regulation-making power for particular matters relating to proceedings in a court or tribunal or other statutory entity with judicial or quasi-judicial functions:
    • alternative processes or methods for making, signing, filing, giving or verifying documents;
    • alternative methods for presenting indictments; or
    • the use of audio/audio visual links for appearing before court, giving evidence or making submissions or taking an oath or making an affirmation.
  • Deemed regulation-making power under relevant enabling acts for courts, tribunals or other statutory entities with judicial or quasi-judicial functions (retrospective application from 19 March 2020) for the following matters:
    • alternative provisions about the constitution of the court, tribunal or relevant statutory judicial or quasi-judicial entity, for conducting the proceedings;
    • provisions for alternative methods of service in proceedings;
    • provisions for video recording of a witness's evidence to be viewed and heard in a proceeding instead of direct testimony;
    • provisions for proceedings to be conducted in an alternative location; and
    • other procedural arrangements in relation to the proceeding.
31 December 2020.
sections 590 and 671, Criminal Code (Qld)
COVID-19 test orders
  • Allows a police officer to apply for an order authorising the taking of a respiratory tract sample of a person and testing the sample for COVID-19 if:
    • the police officer arrests that person for a relevant offence; and
    • in the commission of the relevant offence, the person coughs, sneezes or spits on or at the police officer or another person.
    Relevant offences include:
    • acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm;
    • common assaults; and
    • serious assaults.
    Applications for an order must be made to:
    • a magistrate; or
    • if the relevant person is a child, the Children's Court.
    If the application for an order is for a child, the police officer must give notice to:
    • the child;
    • the child's parent or the chief executive (child safety) if they have custody or guardianship of the child; and
    • the chief executive (communities).
  • A person may appeal to the District Court against a COVID-19 test order within 24 hours after the order is made.
  • A police officer may ask a doctor or prescribed nurse to take a respiratory tract sample from a relevant person under a COVID-19 test order. The doctor or nurse and a person assisting them may use reasonably necessary force to take the sample.
The earlier of the end of the declared public health emergency in Qld or 31 December 2020.

Corrections restrictions

Restrictions
In force until
Relevant instrument and penalties
Detention centre staffing
  • Allows the Chief Executive to appoint temporary non-public service employees as detention centre employees, for only as long as  reasonably  required, and  only if  reasonably necessary  for  the  security  and management of detention centres and the safe custody and wellbeing of children detained in detention centres.
The earlier of the end of the declared public health emergency in Qld or 31 December 2020.
Absence from authorised mental health services
  • Allows the chief psychiatrist to approve an absence of certain patients (including those subject to a judicial order) from an authorised mental health service if satisfied that the absence is necessary to allow the patients to comply with a detention order or public health direction given under the Public Health Act 2005 and does not result in unacceptable risks to the person’s safety and welfare, and the safety of the community.
The end of the declared public health emergency in Qld.
Extended appointments of parole board members
  • Extends the continuous period for which a parole board member may be appointed to act from three months to one year.
Ongoing – permanent provisions mirroring temporary amendments commence on their expiry. 
Emergency powers extended to corrective services facilities
  • Extends the Chief Executive's emergency powers under section 268 of the Corrective Services Act 2006 (Qld) to apply to corrective services facilities.
The earlier of the end of the declared public health emergency in Qld or 31 December 2020. 
Attendance at parole board meetings
  • Removes the requirement that certain persons are present at a meeting of the parol board to consider:
    • the suspension, cancellation or amendment of a prisoner's parole order; or
    • an application for a parole order made by a prisoner other than a prescribed prisoner.
Ongoing – permanent provisions mirroring the temporary amendments will commence on their expiry.
Extension of period for prison emergencies
  • Extends the period for which a state of emergency for a prison may be declared from 3 days to 90 days.
  • Amends the expiration date of declarations to be the earlier of:
    • the day that is the end of the stated period; or
    • the end of the declared public health emergency in Queensland.
As above.
As above.
Additional procedure for entry to corrective services facility
  • Allows the chief executive to require any person entering or attempting to enter a corrective services facility when a declaration of emergency is in force for that facility to be screened for COVID-19, including by taking the temperature of the person.
  • If the person conducting the screening ('the examiner') is of the opinion that the person is exhibiting flu-like symptoms or their temperature is over 38 degrees Celsius, the chief executive may, on advice from the examiner, refuse the person entry into the corrective services facility. 
31 December 2020.
Remote supervision of offenders
  • Allows a corrective services officer to supervise a person remotely using communication technology where supervision is required under any of the following orders:
The earlier of the end of the declared public health emergency in Qld or 31 December 2020.

South Australia (SA)

This section sets out the exemptions and amendments in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in in South Australia (SA) in response to COVID-19.
A major emergency has been declared in SA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current declaration of major emergency, see the SA legislation website.
A list of the relevant instruments issued by the SA Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the SA Legislation website: COVID-19 Declarations and Directions and also at the SA Government's COVID-19 website: Emergency Declaration and Directions.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the SA Government's COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to SA's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the Law Society of South Australia's COVID-19 website.

Justice and Corrections

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instruments and penalties
Witnessing of documents and taking oaths not exempt
Section 17, COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (SA) (which allows for the use of audio visual or audio means to satisfy the requirement that a meeting occurs or some other transaction takes place that requires more than one person to be physically present). Does not apply to a requirement that a person must be physically present to witness the signing, execution, certification or stamping of a document or to take any oath, affirmation or declaration in relation to a document.
A date fixed by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, being the date when all relevant declarations in relation to COVID-19 within South Australia have ceased or six months after the commencement of the Act (whichever is earlier).
Detaining protected persons
Detention of protected people under Schedule 1 to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (SA) and as specified under the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Schedule 1) Regulations 2020 including:
  • A protected person within the meaning of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1993.
  • A mentally incapacitated person who is a resident of a supported residential facility.
  • A resident of certain residential aged care facilities.
  • A resident of specialist disability accommodation (under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth)).
  • A mentally incapacitated person who is an inpatient of mental health rehabilitation services.
  • A mentally incapacitated person who is a resident in supported accommodation where personal care services are provided and 24 hour supervision is provided at the accommodation.
A date fixed by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, being the date when all relevant declarations in relation to COVID-19 within South Australia have ceased or six months after the commencement of the Act (whichever is earlier).
Assaults on prescribed workers
Proposed amendments:
Creates an offence relating to a person who assaults a prescribed emergency worker or retail services worker acting in the course of their duties and either: 
  • At the time of the assault, has COVID-19 and knows that they have COVID-19.
  • At, or immediately before or after the assault, makes a statement or does any other act that creates a belief, suspicion or fear that they have COVID-19 (irrespective of whether or not they have COVID-19).
Proposed expiry: 12 months after it comes into force, unless otherwise proclaimed by the Governor. 
Proposes a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment for this offence.
Electronic monitoring
Proposed amendments:
  • Allows the State Co-ordinator or an authorised officer to direct, where a person has breached a direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 (ACT) without reasonable excuse that:
    • the person wears an electronic device; or
    • an electronic device be installed at the place at which the person is required to self-isolate or quarantine.
  • Creates an offence where a person interferes or tampers with an electronic device without the approval of an authorised officer.
 
Proposes a maximum penalty of $12,000 or 12 months imprisonment for the offence.

Tasmania (Tas)

This section sets out the exemptions and amendments in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in Tasmania (Tas) in response to COVID-19.
A public health emergency has been declared in Tas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A state of emergency has also been declared in Tas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current declarations of public health emergency and state of emergency, see the Tas legislation website.
A list of the relevant instruments issued by the Tas Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the Tas Government's COVID-19 website: Resources: Current Directions.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the Tas Government's COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to Tasmania's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the Law Society of Tasmania's COVID-19 website.
Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instruments
Proceedings general amendments
Allows for the Tas Attorney-General to declare that any proceedings conducted by a court, tribunal or another entity as specified may be held in the approved manner as determined from time to time by:
  • The Chief Magistrate for the court of petty sessions or the Magistrates Court.
  • The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (for courts other than a court of petty sessions or the Magistrates Court).
  • The president, chair or other head in the case of a tribunal.
  • The entity or person nominated by the entity in the case of an entity.
The earlier of: 
  • 12 months from the day on which the notice takes effect.
  • The day on which the notice is revoked.
  • 60 days after the emergency cessation day.
Supreme Court proceedings amendments
Despite existing provisions in relevant legislation, the Chief Justice will be permitted to determine an approved manner under section 20, COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 (Tas) for:
  • Conducting sittings in the criminal jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Tasmania and the Court of Criminal appeals.
  • Appeals in the Supreme Court where an appellant wishes to be present.
  • The imposition of sentencing in the Supreme Court.
  • The number of judges sitting in the Supreme Court.
The earlier of: 
  • 12 months from the day on which the notice takes effect.
  • The day on which the notice is revoked.
  • 60 days after the emergency cessation day.
Remote meetings for Supreme Court Rule Committee
Meetings of the Supreme Court Rule Committee may be conducted by:
  • Telephone.
  • Electronic communication.
  • Another method.
The person who ordinarily presides of the meeting must issue a written notice to each member of the Rule Committee detailing the manner in which the meeting will be conducted, including any requirements as to the number of members present or constitution of a quorum.
The earlier of: 
12 months from the day on which the notice takes effect.
The day on which the notice is revoked.
  • 60 days after the emergency cessation day.
Magistrates Court proceedings amendments
Despite existing provisions in relevant legislation the Chief Magistrate will be permitted to determine an approved manner under section 20, COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 (Tas) for:
  • Conducting hearings that adhere to the requirement for an open and public court for sittings of the court of petty sessions or the magistrates court.
  • To the extent that a sentence may be imposed in open court, sentencing for an offence imposed by a magistrate.
The earlier of: 
  • 12 months from the day on which the notice takes effect.
  • The day on which the notice is revoked.
  • 60 days after the emergency cessation day.
Electronic service of specified documents
Allows for service of documents under the following provisions by email or facsimile if the intended recipient of the document has agreed to service by supplying an email address or phone number for the purposes of receiving service:
The earlier of: 
  • 12 months from the day on which the notice takes effect.
  • The day on which the notice is revoked.
  • 60 days after the emergency cessation day.
Making affidavits, declarations and other documents by audio-visual link
Allows the use of audio-visual link to make an affidavit, declaration or other document required under any of the following provisions:
A physical action required for the making of a specified document may be satisfied where the action is performed over audio-visual link and the person witnessing the action:
  • Observes, in real time, the action being taken.
  • Satisfies themselves that the document in relation to which the physical action is taken is the same document, or a copy of the document, the witness is to sign.
  • Attests to their observation of the physical action by:
As above.
As above.

Victoria (Vic)

This section sets out the exemptions and amendments in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in Victoria (Vic) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A state of disaster has been declared under the Emergency Management Act 1986 (Vic) in relation to the whole of Vic in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A major emergency has also been declared in Vic in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current declarations of state of disaster and major emergency, see the Vic legislation website.
A list of the relevant instruments issued by the Vic Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services' COVID-19 website: Directions Issued by the Chief Health Officer.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the Vic Government's COVID-19 website and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services' COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to Vic's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the Law Institute Victoria's COVID-19 website.

Justice exemptions

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instrument and penalties
Regulation-making power to modify a Justice Act
Regulations may be made that temporarily disapplies or modifies a Justice Act (as defined in the Act) provision the provide for or regulate any of the following matters:
  • Arrangements for, or with respect to, any proceeding in a court or tribunal, including a pre-trial proceeding.
  • The conduct of proceedings.
  • Arrangements for any proceeding inquiry or investigation with respect to an integrity entity.
  • A specified date or time frame requirement.
  • Bail application processes.
  • Monitoring or enforcing of bail processes.
  • Method or processes by which an order or instrument may be monitored, administered or enforced.
  • Processes for issuing orders, judgments, rulings reasons, determinations, decisions or findings.
  • Processes and methods for issuing and enforcing warrants.
  • Processes and methods for ordering and enforcing family violence intervention orders and family violence safety notices.
  • The witnessing, execution or signing of legal documents such as affidavits, statutory declarations, powers of attorney, contracts or agreements, undertakings and wills.
  • Process for giving or issuing documents.
  • The service, certification, lodgement, submission or filing or inspection of documents.
26 April 2021.
Court appearances
Requirements that a person be brought before a court may be satisfied by either a legal practitioner representing the person, or another person empowered by law appearing on behalf of the person.
A person may appear before a court for the purposes of any of the provisions of the Act:
  • Personally.
  • By a legal practitioner representing the person.
  • By another person empowered by law to appear for the person.
  • An appearance by audio visual link or audio link constitutes an appearance for the purposes of the Act.
26 April 2021.
Appearances not required in certain circumstances
A court may decide any issue in any proceeding or determine any other proceeding (other than certain prescribed issues or proceedings) entirely on the basis of written submissions and without the appearance of parties if the court is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so and whether or not the parties consent to the court doing so (does not apply to a criminal proceeding or an issue in a criminal proceeding).
26 April 2021. (section continues to apply with respect to any issue or proceeding to be determined entirely on written submissions until it is decided or determined).
Judge-only hearings
The court may order at any time, other than during trial, that one or more charges in an indictment be tried by the trial judge alone, without a jury, subject to certain conditions.
26 April 2021.
Audio-visual links
A senior judicial officer may make practice directions, statements or notes relating to the exercise by the court of its discretion in relation to the court's existing power to direct that a person appears to give evidence or make submissions by audio visual link.
26 April 2021.
Interim extension orders extended
Interim extension orders are extended from a standard length of 28 days to three months.
26 April 2021.
Additional registrar powers
Registrars in criminal proceedings have additional powers including power to abridge or extend the bail of a person who has been granted bail in a criminal proceeding or to adjourn a criminal proceeding.
26 April 2021.
Alternative methods of service of documents, appearance and inspection of documents - Freedom of information
The application of provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) have been modified to allow:
  • For the purposes of sections 42, 59I and 124, alternative methods of service of documents on a natural person, including by:
    • registered post to the person's last known place of residence or business;
    • electronic communication to the person or their authorised legal representative, where the recipient confirms they have received the communication;
    • registered post to the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative;
    • leaving a copy of the document for the person at the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative or with a person who apparently works there and is over 16 years of age; and
    • personal service on the person's authorised legal representative.
  • For the purposes of sections 42, 59I and 124, alternative methods of service on a body corporate, including by:
    • leaving a copy of the document at the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate with a person apparently employed at that office or place and who is apparently at least 16 years of age;
    • registered post to the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate; and
    • electronic communication, where the communication is confirmed as being received by the body corporate.
  • Documents claimed to be exempt under sections 28, 29A, 31 or 31A of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) to be produced for inspection by secure electronic means.
  • Attendance under a notice to produce or attend to be satisfied by attendance by audio or audio visual link.
  • A legal practitioner to represent a person by audio or audio visual link.
 
Alternative methods of service of notices, summons and documents and attendance - Independent broad-based anti-corruption commission (IBAC)
The application of provisions of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (Vic) have been modified to allow:
  • Alternative methods of service of confidentiality notices, witness summons and documents on a natural person, including by:
    • registered post to the person's last known place of residence or business;
    • electronic communication to the person or their authorised legal representative, where the recipient confirms they have received the communication;
    • registered post to the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative;
    • leaving a copy of the document for the person at the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative or with a person who apparently works there and is over 16 years of age; and
    • personal service on the person's authorised legal representative.
  • Alternative methods of service of confidentiality notices, witness summons and documents on a body corporate, including by:
    • leaving a copy of the document at the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate with a person apparently employed at that office or place and who is apparently at least 16 years of age;
    • registered post to the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate; and
    • electronic communication, where the communication is confirmed as being received by the body corporate.
  • Attendance required by a witness summons to be satisfied by attendance by audio or audio visual link.
  • Attendance of an Australian legal practitioner at the IBAC for the purposes of representing a witness to be satisfied by attendance by audio or audio visual link.
  • The following persons to attend an examination by audio or audio visual link:
    • an interpreter;
    • a parent or guardian; and
    • an independent person.
 
Alternative methods of service of notices, appearance and inspection of documents - Local government
The application of provisions of the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) have been modified to allow:
  • Provision of documents by the Chief Municipal Inspector to any persons entitled to inspect the document to occur by secure electronic means.
  • Alternative methods of service of confidentiality notices or a notice cancelling a confidentiality notice on a natural person, including by:
    • personal service;
    • registered post to the person's last known place of residence or business;
    • electronic communication to the person or their authorised legal representative, where the recipient confirms they have received the communication;
    • registered post to the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative;
    • leaving a copy of the document for the person at the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative or with a person who apparently works there and is over 16 years of age; and
    • personal service on the person's authorised legal representative.
  • Any Justice Act provisions:
    • in relation to an appearance under section 223B(2) to be satisfied by appearance by audio or audio visual link; and
    • in relation to production of documents under section 223B(2) to be satisfied by production by secure electronic means.
 
Audio, audio-visual - Oaths and affirmations
Oaths and affirmations may be made by saying the words of the oath or affirmation aloud while appearing before the administering officer by audio or audio visual link.
 
Alternative methods of service of summons and attendance - Ombudsman
The application of provisions of the Ombudsman Act 1973 (Vic) have been modified to allow:
  • Alternative methods of service of a witness summons on a natural person, including by:
    • personal service;
    • registered post to the person's last known place of residence or business;
    • electronic communication to the person or their authorised legal representative, where the recipient confirms they have received the communication;
    • registered post to the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative;
    • leaving a copy of the document for the person at the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative or with a person who apparently works there and is over 16 years of age; and
    • personal service on the person's authorised legal representative. 
  • Alternative methods of service of a witness summons on a body corporate, including by:
    • leaving a copy of the document at the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate with a person apparently employed at that office or place and who is apparently at least 16 years of age;
    • registered post to the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate; and
    • electronic communication, where the communication is confirmed as being received by the body corporate. 
  • Attendance required by a witness summons to be satisfied by attendance by audio or audio visual link.
  • Attendance of a legal practitioner for the purposes of representing a witness to be satisfied by attendance by audio or audio visual link.
  • The following persons to attend an appearance in relation to a witness summons by audio or audio visual link:
    • an interpreter;
    • a parent or guardian; and
    • an independent person.
 
Alternative methods of service of documents - Privacy and data protection
The application of provisions of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) have been modified to allow:
  • Alternative methods of service of documents under sections 78, 82B and 83H on a natural person, including by:
    • registered post to the person's last known place of residence or business;
    • electronic communication to the person or their authorised legal representative, where the recipient confirms they have received the communication;
    • registered post to the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative;
    • leaving a copy of the document for the person at the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative or with a person who apparently works there and is over 16 years of age; and
    • personal service on the person's authorised legal representative.
  • Alternative methods of service of documents under sections 78, 83B and 83H on a body corporate, including by:
    • registered post to the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate; and
    • electronic communication, where the communication is confirmed as being received by the body corporate.
 
Alternative methods of service of documents and attendance - Victorian Inspectorate 
The application of provisions of the Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 (Vic) have been modified to allow:
  • Alternative methods of service of documents under sections 38, 39, 51, 64, 65, 66, 67 and 72 on a natural person, including by:
    • registered post to the person's last known place of residence or business;
    • electronic communication to the person or their authorised legal representative, where the recipient confirms they have received the communication;
    • registered post to the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative;
    • leaving a copy of the document for the person at the place of business of the person's authorised legal representative or with a person who apparently works there and is over 16 years of age; and
    • personal service on the person's authorised legal representative.
  • Alternative methods of service of documents under sections 38, 39, 51, 64, 65, 66, 67 and 72 on a body corporate, including by:
    • registered post to the registered office or principal place of business of the body corporate; and
    • electronic communication, where the communication is confirmed as being received by the body corporate.
  • Attendance required for conduct of an investigation, examinations and by a witness summons to be satisfied by attendance by audio or audio visual link.
  • Attendance of a legal practitioner for the purposes of representing a witness at an examination to be satisfied by attendance by audio or audio visual link.
  • The following persons to attend an examination in by audio or audio visual link:
    • an interpreter;
    • a parent or guardian; and
    • an independent person.
 
Entering bail undertakings by electronic communication
Allows an accused to enter into a bail undertaking electronically if:
  • The bail decision maker or another authorised person sends a copy of the undertaking and a copy of the section 17 notice to the accused by electronic communication.
  • The accused, by return electronic communication:
    • confirms receipt and that they understand the nature and extent of any bail conditions imposed and the consequences of failure to comply with them; and
    • signs the undertaking by electronic signature.
  • The bail decision maker or authorised person:
    • makes a note on the undertaking of their name and position, and a note that the accused entered into it by electronic signature;
    • attaches a copy of the electronic communication from the accused to the annotated undertaking.
26 April 2021.
Entering bail undertakings by audio or audio visual link
If the court granting bail considers it impracticable for the accused to enter into the written undertaking in person or by electronic communication, the court may direct that the undertaking be entered into in court by audio or audio visual link by:
  • The accused appearing before the court by audio link or audio visual link.
  • The court providing a clear oral explanation of the nature and extent of the conditions of the accused's bail and the consequences of failure to comply with them, and the accused providing oral confirmation of their understanding of those matters. 
  • The court being satisfied of the accused's understanding and noting the accused's oral agreement to the undertaking on the record of order granting bail.
  • The person constituting the court or a court official making a note on the written undertaking of their name and position and that the undertaking has been entered into by audio or audio visual link.
As above.
As above.
Electronic signature of undertaking by surety
Allows a surety to electronically sign an undertaking if:
  • The bail decision maker or another authorised person sends a copy of the undertaking signed by the accused and a copy of the section 17 notice to the accused by electronic communication.
  • The surety, by return electronic communication:
    • confirms receipt and that they understand the nature and extent of any bail conditions imposed on the accused and the consequences of the accused's failure to comply with them; and
    • signs the undertaking by electronic signature.
  • The bail decision maker or authorised person:
    • makes a note on the undertaking of their name and position, and a note that the surety signed it by electronic signature;
    • attaches a copy of the electronic communication from the accused to the annotated undertaking.
As above.
As above.
Electronic signature of affidavit of justification for bail by surety
Allows a surety to make an affidavit of justification for bail if the surety:
  • Makes the affidavit by audio or audio visual link before the bail decision maker or other authorised person.
  • Signs the affidavit by electronic signature.
A surety may make and sign the affidavit of justification for bail by:
  • The bail decision maker or authorised person sending the affidavit to the surety by electronic communication.
  • The surety appearing by audio or audio visual link before the bail decision maker or authorised person and stating that the surety:
    • confirms that the particulars of the affidavit are true and correct; and
    • agrees to sign the affidavit by electronic signature. 
  • The surety by return electronic communication to the bail decision maker or authorised person, signing the affidavit by electronic signature and confirming the matters above; 
  • On receipt of the electronic communication from the surety, the bail decision maker or authorised person:
    • stating in the jurat of the affidavit that the surety confirmed that the particulars of the affidavit are true and correct by audio or audio visual link and that the affidavit was signed by the surety by electronic signature; 
    • attaching a copy of the electronic communication to that written affidavit; and
    • signing the affidavit as a witness to the surety's electronic signature.
As above.
As above.
Extension of adjournment period for committal mention hearings
Extends the maximum adjournment period for committal mention hearings from 14 days to 28 days.
26 April 2021.
Extension of time for commencement of sexual offence trials
Increases the allowable extension of time for commencement of a trial for a sexual offence from three months to six months.
As above.
As above.
Documents to be provided before first mention hearing
Documents which must ordinarily be provided by a police officer informant to the accused at a first mention hearing must instead be served on the accused or their legal representative no less than 7 days before the date listed for the first mention hearing.
As above
As above.
Discontinuance by audio visual link or filing notice with the registrar
The DPP may discontinue a prosecution by filing written notice of the discontinuance, signed by the DPP, with a registrar of the court in which the accused was committed for trial or in which a direct indictment was filed against the accused.
As above
As above.
Extension for guardianship hearings in VCAT
The allowable period from receipt of a guardianship application under sections 28, 85, 104 and 144 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic) by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to the hearing of the application is extended from 30 days to 45 business days.
26 April 2021.
Availability of documents
For the purposes of subsections (3)(b) and (4)(c) of the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984 (Vic), the requirement that a document be kept available for inspection during normal office hours is satisfied if the document is made available on a government website that is accessible to the general public without charge.
26 April 2021.
Summoning of jurors by electronic communication
A jury summons may be served by means of electronic communication if the recipient consents to receiving the summons by electronic communication.
26 April 2021.
Jury attendance by audio visual link
Jury members may attend court by audio or audio visual link or other specified electronic means as set out in the summons or in accordance with a direction given by the Juries Commissioner or a pool supervisor.
There is no requirement that jurors be physically present together in the same room or place.
As above.
As above.
Modified arrangements to stand aside juror or challenge peremptorily
For the purpose of distinguishing a particular potential juror, a trial judge may direct the potential juror to move in a particular direction (for example, directing them to stand, sit or move towards a place in the room). 
The direction to move substitutes the ordinary action of a juror coming to his or her seat and taking it. 
Accordingly, the requirement that the Crown make a peremptory challenge or direct a juror to stand aside as they come to their seat is satisfied if done while the juror moves as directed. 
A potential juror who is required to stand aside is not required to return to the jury pool.
As above.
As above.
Extension of limitation periods
The period commencing 16 March 2020 and ending 31 July 2020 (inclusive) is not to be included in the calculation of the applicable limitation period for the following actions:
  • Contracts and torts.
  • Successive conversions of goods.
  • Land recovery.
  • Redemption actions.
  • Rent recovery.
  • Recovery of money secured by a mortgage or charge.
  • Recovery of tax.
  • In respect of trust property.
  • Claiming personal estate of a deceased person.
  • Personal injury (general).
  • Personal injury (persons under a disability).
  • Minors injured by close relatives or close associates.
  • Certain actions arising under Part III of the Wrongs Act 1958 for wrongful act or neglect causing death.
26 April 2021.
Alternative method of service of witness summons – Major crimes
The requirement to deliver a copy of a witness summons under the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004 to a person personally may be satisfied by putting a copy of the summons down in the presence of that person and telling that person the nature of the summons.
26 April 2021.
Extension for reasons for arbitration award
The period of time a party has from the making of an arbitration award to request that the court provides reasons for making the award is extended from 28 days to 60 days.
26 April 2021.
Attendance at VCAT not required
VCAT may conduct all or part of a proceeding entirely on the basis of documents, without the appearance of the parties or their representatives or witnesses, unless a party objects to the proceeding being conducted in this manner.
26 April 2021.
Witness summons - VCAT
A person who receives a summons to physically attend VCAT may instead appear before the Tribunal by audio or audio visual link.
If the summons requires the production of documents, a person may produce the documents by filing them with VCAT by electronic communication or by post. 
As above.
As above.
Delayed commencement of VCAT proceedings under the Disability Act 2006
The periods from the date of application for applications under the Disability Act 2006 until VCAT must commence hearing a proceeding are extended as follows:
  • For applications under section 199A of that Act, from within 5 business days to within 10 business days.
  • In any other case, from within 30 business days to within 45 business days.
As above.
Delayed commencement of VCAT proceedings under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997
The period from the date of application for applications under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 until VCAT must commence hearing a proceeding is extended from within 30 business days to within 45 business days.
As above.
Electronic filing of charge-sheets
Charge-sheets may be filed by email with a registrar. 
 
Extended time limit for filing original documents – wills and probate
Temporary amendments provide an extension of time limits for filing original documents in the Supreme Court of Vic in relation to wills and probate matters. Any time extensions will be made by the Chief Justice by notice to the profession published on the Court's website. 
The date specified as the cessation date by the Chief Justice by notice to the profession, unless earlier revoked. 
Jury service exemption directions
A head of jurisdiction (being the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the Chief Judge of the County Court) may, by direction, defer the jury or excuse from jury service, a class of people to whom a COVID-19 activity restriction applies. 
26 April 2021.
VCAT proceedings may be conducted without appearances
VCAT proceedings may be conducted entirely on the basis of documents, without the appearance of the parties or their representatives or witnesses, unless a party objects.
The Tribunal may proceed entirely on the basis of documents even if a party objects, if it is satisfied that the objection is not reasonable. 
26 April 2021.
Further proceedings permitted to be conducted by audio visual link
Modifies the application of certain provisions of the Crimes Act 1958 to permit the presence of parties to the following proceedings by audio visual link:
  • Court orders for forensic procedures.
  • Court orders for forensic procedures for a child.
  • Attendance at hearings once an interim order is made.
26 April 2021.

Corrections exemptions

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instrument and penalties
Electronic monitoring requirements
The Magistrates' court may attach electronic monitoring requirements to a community corrections order.
26 April 2021.
Prison visiting restrictions
The Secretary or Governor may:
  • Prohibit a person, by order, from entering a prison as a visitor for the safety, security and good order of a prison, or for the health and safety of any person.
  • Restrict the manner in which a person enters a prison as a visitor.
  • Restrict the manner in which a visit is conducted.
  • Order a visitor to leave the prison.
26 April 2021.

Western Australia (WA)

This section sets out the exemptions and amendments in force in 2020 for the administration of justice and corrections in Western Australia (WA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A major emergency has been declared in WA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A public health state of emergency has also been declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current declarations of major emergency and public health state of emergency, see the WA legislation website.
A list of the relevant instruments issued by the WA Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the WA Government's website: COVID-19 coronavirus: State of Emergency Directions.
The latest general information and guidance for the public is available at the WA Government's COVID-19 website.
Further information in relation to WA's COVID-19 response to the administration of justice and corrections is available at the Law Society of Western Australia's COVID-19 Website.

Justice exemptions

Amendments
In force until
Relevant instruments and penalties
Assaults on key workers
Higher maximum penalties are introduced for the offences of serious assault and threats committed in the context of COVID-19. New provisions seek to reflect the seriousness of offending against public officers and certain other officers delivering frontline services including police officers, healthcare workers, bus drivers and prison officers in relation to COVID-19.
4 April 2021, with a proposed extension to 4 October 2020.
Penalties:
  • Maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment for certain serious assaults.
  • Maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment for threats to injure, endanger or harm certain categories of persons by exposing them to COVID-19.
Commencement of prosecutions
  • Proposed amendments provide that a prosecution is commenced on the day the prosecution notice is lodged with the court. 
 
Sentencing by audio link
Proposed amendments to permit sentencing to occur, on application by the offender, by audio link where:
  • The offender has been convicted of an offence on a plea of guilty.
  • The court proposes to impose a non-custodial sentence on the offender in respect of the offence.
  • The court is satisfied that:
    • the audio link is available or can reasonably be made available; and
    • it is in the interests of justice.
31 December 2020, unless otherwise postponed by proclamation. 
Child evidence by audio link
Proposed amendments provide that, where a judge believes it is not desirable for an accused to attend court due to their health or other reasons, they will be able to listen to a special hearing to take and record a child's evidence by audio link.
Where this applies, the accused must be provided with a reasonable opportunity to view a copy of the visually recorded evidence before the evidence is presented to the court.
 
Bail 
  • An accused person may be electronically monitored on home detention bail including a requirement for a written report on the suitability of an accused for home detention.
  • An "approved electronic monitoring device" is defined to capture radio frequency devices and global positioning system devices, and any other technology that may be used for the purpose of electronic monitoring or curfew requirements.
 
  • A provision of the Bail Act 1982 (WA) has been deleted to enable police officers to grant bail for breaches of family violence restraining orders in urban areas (in line with the existing power in regional areas). The amendment is to avoid resorting to court consideration or the summons process for bail in these circumstances.
 
  • Proposed amendments permit electronic service of various notices under the Bail Act 1982 (WA).
 
Restraining orders 
Amendments to allow courts to make procedural rules in relation to a number of functions relating to restraining order hearings such as enabling electronic lodgement of restraining orders, how restraining orders may be prepared and served, and allowing functions that must currently be undertaken by a registrar to be carried out by the court's electronic system where required.
 
Existing interim orders may remain in force until expiration or until a final order comes into force.
 
Online applications may be made for restraining orders or certain persons may apply on behalf of others.
 
Substituted service of orders is allowed in certain prescribed circumstances.
 
Separate offences for family violence restraining orders and violence restraining orders have been introduced, increasing the monetary penalty for breaches to $10,000, and extending the limitation period for prosecution to two years.
 
Amends the Restraining Orders Regulations 1997 to provide for alternative arrangements for effecting substituted service of a family violence restraining order without court order when a state of emergency declaration is in force.
 

Corrections exemptions

Exemptions
In force until
Relevant instrument and penalties
Sentencing amendments
Amendments introduced to facilitate electronic monitoring as a requirement of intensive supervision orders, conditional suspended imprisonment order or for the purpose of monitoring the location of an offender by inserting a new defined term for "approved electronic monitoring device" to capture radio frequency devices and global positioning system devices, and any other technology that may be used for the purpose of electronic monitoring or curfew requirements and providing guidelines for when electronic monitoring may be imposed.
 
Sentencing administration amendments
Amendments introduced to ensure a consistent approach to the use of electronic monitoring devices including the insertion of a new defined term for "approved electronic monitoring device" to capture radio frequency devices and global positioning system devices and various amendments to incorporate this definition into the provisions of the Sentence Administration Act 2003 (WA).
 
A new offence is created where a person breaches an order or direction related to wearing monitoring equipment and breaches of violence restraining orders under the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA) will constitute a serious offence under the Sentence Administration Act 2003 (WA).