Remote Hearings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

29 April 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where appropriate and necessary, the Federal Court has modified its practices, with the Court’s priority being the health and safety of the community, and in particular, parties, practitioners, judges and staff, and the families of all of these groups.

In-person hearings

In-person hearings have now re-commenced in COVID normal locations: currently all locations.

In-person participants are limited to courtroom functional capacities and strict attention to social distancing and personal hygiene.

Where matters require additional space, for example because of the number of participants, audio visual facilities should continue to be utilised.

Court facilities incorporate physical distancing and hygiene arrangements recommended by specialist consultants, with important functional limits on those spaces with configured seating, including courtrooms, based on 1.5 metre separation.

The Court is continuing to explore options for permanent social distancing arrangements, including configuring additional seating at bar tables in courtrooms where this can be safely accommodated.

Virtual or remote hearings

The Court recognises the rapid advances in the Court’s remote access technology and the willingness of judges, the profession and other participants to adapt and adopt changes as an opportunity. To this end, the Court recommends that wherever appropriate, remote hearings should continue to be considered.

Please click on the links below to access information relevant to the conduct of remote hearings: