Precautionary public health measures apply in Melbourne's Supreme Court while coronavirus testing and contact tracing is underway.
25 May 2021
From 6pm on 25 May 2021, new public health measures will apply in the Supreme Court of Victoria (the Court) in Melbourne as extra precautions while testing and contact tracing is underway in relation to recent cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).
New requirements for face masks
Face masks will be required to be worn indoors in all Court buildings in Melbourne, subject to the exemptions. This new public health measure is an extra precaution while testing and contact tracing is underway in relation to recent cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). Masks can be provided at the security screening point if required.
The exemptions which have applied on previous occasions are set out below. This advice will be updated should the new public health directions be in different terms.
Where the nature of a person’s work means that clear enunciation or visibility of the mouth is essential.
- Judicial officers and anyone addressing the court as part of their work may remove face coverings when needed. Those addressing the court may continue to wear a mask if they prefer, subject to any legal requirements.
- Court staff speaking in court and court interpreters may also remove face coverings when needed.
Where a person is asked to remove a face covering to ascertain identity
- Security officers may request face coverings be removed temporarily to verify identity in certain circumstances.
Required or authorised by law
- Where it is considered necessary for the fair conduct of court proceedings, the presiding judicial officer may direct a witness giving evidence to remove a face covering.
- Where it is a legal requirement that someone’s face be able to be seen in court (e.g. during the jury empanelment process) they may be directed to remove a face covering.
The person has a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable
For example, if a person has breathing difficulties.
A person is communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing where visibility of the mouth is essential for communication
Those interpreting for the deaf, whether in court or not, may remove face coverings for this purpose.
A person is working by themselves in an enclosed indoor space (unless and until another person enters that indoor space)
A person is consuming food, drink or medicine
It remains the expectation that even if face coverings are removed pursuant to an exemption while in court, that masks be worn when moving through the court buildings.
Ongoing requirements and settings
The Court otherwise remains open and operating with the COVIDsafe settings that were in place previously:
- If you are subject to a requirement to isolate, feel unwell or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, do not attend at Court and notify the Registry by calling the Prothonotary on 03 8600 2023 or emailing prothonotary @supcourt.vic.gov.au
- QR recording systems remain in place at each building’s security screening area.
- Personal hygiene measures should be followed at all times – wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser available throughout the court and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow if not wearing a mask.
- No density restrictions and no physical distancing requirements or recommendations apply in courts other than for those attending court for general visitation purposes.
- The Court continues to encourage attendance at a Supreme Court Registry or the Probate Office by appointment. Please telephone the Registry Services team or the Probate Office to discuss possible alternatives to in person attendance or to make an appointment. The Registry Services team and Probate Office can be contacted on 03 8600 2000.
Further information can be accessed on the DHHS website.
The health and safety of judicial officers, staff, and court users remains of the highest priority as Victoria faces outbreaks of community transmission of COVID-19.