This page outlines changes to the Common Law Division's case management processes and procedures introduced in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
These changes apply in addition to those outlined in the Guidance for Civil Proceedings Affected by Coronavirus, which covers:
- The Civil Procedure Act 2010;
- Personal Service;
- and Trial Division Court Books.
A full list of all the Court’s published coronavirus material can be found on the Coronavirus Information page. The Court encourages users to review this page regularly as the information may change.
Division - Wide Changes
These changes apply to all Common Law Division lists.
Further, whether and how a matter is heard will ultimately be determined by the allocated judicial officer.
Trials and Juries
During periods of unavailability of civil juries, trials that would have been heard before a jury will proceed before a judge sitting alone unless a judge adjourns the proceeding. Trials, including circuit trials, may proceed as virtual hearings or in-person depending on prevailing restrictions and courtroom availability.
Parties should check the Court’s Coronavirus Information page for the latest updates.
Parties seeking that a trial proceed in-person are requested to complete and submit an In-Person Hearing Form to assist in the allocation of courtrooms. The request should provide information about the need for an in-person hearing and sufficient information to enable an assessment to be made about whether a suitable courtroom will be available. For further information please see the Notice to the Profession which outlines changes to in person hearings.
Electronic court books will be required. Further information on the preparation of electronic court books can be found on the Electronic Court Books For Virtual Courtrooms page.
When appearances are required, directions hearings and call overs will be conducted as virtual hearings, unless parties are otherwise advised by the Court.
Electronic signatures are accepted on Court documents. For information about completing affidavits remotely please see the Guidance for Civil Proceedings Affected by Coronavirus page.
Interlocutory applications will be conducted as a virtual hearing. Alternatively, parties may request that the matter be dealt with on the papers on the basis of submissions and affidavit material.
Lead Up To Hearings
Parties will be contacted by the case management team ahead of all hearings to provide information relevant to their conduct. As always, parties are expected to confer prior to any hearing for the purpose of negotiating the relevant orders and to provide minutes of proposed consent orders.
Large Electronic Files
Large electronic files which are not able to be attached to emails (such as video files) or filed via RedCrest should be provided via an appropriate secure file sharing service (such as Dropbox or SharePoint) to the associate to the relevant judicial officer ahead of the hearing. Documents can also be provided using the Court’s Secure Document Exchange.
If practitioners wish to share documents using this process they should contact the associate to the relevant judicial officer hearing the matter. Contact information for each chambers can be found on the Judicial Support Contacts page.
Judgments will generally be delivered by email without parties’ attendance. If an appearance is required, the hearing will usually be conducted virtually.
Applications for views should continue to be made by oral application to the trial judge. Views will need to be conducted following current social distancing/coronavirus restrictions. Information about current restrictions can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Pre-Trial Conferences will be conducted as a virtual hearing.
Order 41 Examinations
Order 41 examinations will be conducted as a virtual hearing. Practitioners should contact the Judicial Services Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org@esseenebed to make appropriate arrangements.
The Court is conducting virtual hearings using two main platforms, Zoom and Webex. The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. These include information about how to operate each platform, device requirements, information about electronic court books, FAQs and more. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. If any party to the proceeding is a prisoner and a videolink to prison is required, please advise the Court promptly as such facilities in prisons are limited.
Robing is required for all trials. For all other hearing types, counsel and practitioners should contact the relevant chambers of the judicial officer hearing the matter to enquire whether robing is required. Contact information for each chambers can be found on the Judicial Support Contacts page.
Subject to any order of the Court, interpreters assisting witnesses giving video evidence are not required to be in the same room as the witness and may appear by video link.
Practitioners may wish to use virtual backgrounds when appearing at virtual hearings. The Court has made several images available for use by members of the legal profession to use as backgrounds on the Virtual Hearings page.
Practice Court matters will generally proceed as a virtual hearing and, in addition to the usual initiating documents being filed, all parties will be required to file short written submissions in support of their relative positions, incorporating references to principal authorities relied upon.
If either party considers that the application is not suitable for determination via a virtual hearing, their submissions must explain the requirement for an appearance and the urgency of an in-person hearing.
The Court will then determine whether the hearing will proceed and in what manner.
For further information concerning Practice Court procedures please consult the SCV Notice to the Profession - Practice Court.
Read more of the Court's coronavirus information.