The latest directions under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act require face masks to be carried at all times outside of personal residences and worn at indoor venues subject to certain exceptions from 11.59pm on Wednesday, 3 February, 2020.
This news article may contain information that has since been updated or revised. To view current changes to Court operations related to COVID-19 visit the coronavirus information page.
Last updated 4 February 2021
Face masks are required to be worn indoors in all Supreme Court of Victoria (SCV) buildings, subject to the exemptions, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Masks can be provided at the security screening point if required.
Face masks can be removed in outdoor areas where people are able to maintain 1.5 metres physical distance.
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 provided they maintain physical distancing. 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 all court participants maintain physical distancing and, even if face coverings are removed pursuant to an exemption while in court, that masks be worn when moving through the court buildings.
Ongoing health advice
Please also follow the continuing health advice, including:
- If you 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
- Practice physical distancing – stay 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with.
- Practice excellent personal hygiene 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.
The Supreme Court will continue to operate largely through virtual hearings, which do not require people to physically attend Court.
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.
We thank all those coming into buildings for their patience and understanding as we work together to reduce the spread of coronavirus.