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Public Notice: COVID-19 Measures

Effective from 4 August 2020

DIRECTIONS TO COURT USERS, MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND LEGAL PROFESSION

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Melbourne, Broadmeadows and Moorabbin Children’s Courts are:

  • Hearing urgent cases remotely by video via ‘Webex’, subject to the current Practice Directions.
  • Adjourning non-urgent cases without the need for parties to attend the Court.

If you have a case at the Children’s Court, you should not attend unless directed to do so by a Judicial Officer. Call the relevant registry for more information and to find out how to join a remote online hearing.

If you have been served with a child protection application by the DHHS, read this information sheet about how to find a lawyer and how to join the remote online hearing.

We have dedicated staff to help court users understand court processes.

Our Court Support Coordinators are available by phone on:

  • Melbourne Children’s Court:  0428 133 321
  • Broadmeadows Children’s Court:  0456 718 527
  • Moorabbin Children’s Court: 0447 236 286

CASE MANAGEMENT

FILING

All documents must be filed electronically with the relevant Children’s Court registry.

FAMLY DIVISION cases will be managed in accordance with current Practice Directions.

  • Emergency Care applications – to proceed online via Webex
  • Protection applications issued by notice –will be listed for a first return date within four weeks to be conducted online via Webex
  • Mentions - to be adjourned on the papers with existing orders to be extended on the same terms & conditions, in accordance with Practice Direction No. 9 of 2020. Parties may apply at any time for a reserved submissions hearing, a conciliation conference or for the case to be listed for a Readiness Hearing.
  • Reserved Submissions – to continue online via Webex
  • Conciliation Conferences – to continue online via Webex
  • Readiness hearings – to continue online via Webex
  • Family Drug Treatment Court reviews - to be conducted online via Webex
  • Marram-Ngala Ganbu – for further information please contact the Koori Services Coordinator on 9007 7616
  • Family Violence and Personal Safety intervention orders – urgent matters will be heard in accordance with current Practice Direction No. 8 of 2020. All other matters will be adjourned for 8 weeks.
  • Children’s Court Clinic Assessments – are only being conducted where it is possible to do so remotely.

CRIMINAL DIVISION cases will be managed in accordance with current Practice Directions.

  • Fast Track Remand Court – will be heard online
  • Urgent hearings as defined in paragraph 16 of Practice Direction No. 2 of 2020 and will be listed for a remote via Webex.
  • Diversion applications and unopposed bail variations will be heard on the papers pursuant to current Practice Directions.
  • All cases in which child accused have been charged on summons are to be adjourned for 8 weeks from the date of listing.
  • All cases in which the child accused is on bail are to be adjourned (with bail extended/varied) to a date to be determined by the Court.
  • Children’s Court Clinic Assessments – clinical assessments continue to be undertaken remotely.
  • Koori Court – all Children’s Koori Court hearings are currently suspended.

MEASURES

Entry to the Melbourne, Broadmeadows and Moorabbin Children’s Courts is restricted in accordance with the COVID-19 Entry Notice

In the rare instances where attendance at the Melbourne, Broadmeadows and Moorabbin Children’s Courts is permitted and required, to promote the safety of all court users we have introduced the following measures:

All staff and judicial officers of the Court have been briefed on individual measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

  • Hand sanitisers are available for use throughout Court buildings.
  • Surfaces are cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and overnight.
  • Sneeze guards have been installed at all counters.
  • Signage indicates how to observe a 1.5m distances at counters, in corridors and waiting areas, and when seated.
  • Every enclosed space has been measured and clearly displays the number of people who are permitted to enter to allow 4 square metres per person.

NO person is permitted to enter Children’s Court buildings under any circumstances if they:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • are waiting on the results of a test for COVID-19
  • are required to be in isolation or quarantine
  •  are unwell, (including those with a fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of sense of smell.)

Anyone in Victoria’s court or tribunal buildings must wear a face covering unless an exemption applies. The exemptions and a description of compliant face coverings can be found on the DHHS website, here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-coverings-1159pm-wednesday-22-july

It is expected that now that there is a general requirement to wear face coverings in public, most people who are permitted entry to the Children’s Court at this time will have their own, and will be wearing a face covering when arriving at court. Disposable face coverings will continue to be available at court entrance points before security screening. Guidance on how to properly fit and dispose of face coverings will be provided and displayed. Further information about the requirement to wear face coverings in Victoria’s court or tribunal buildings may be found here: https://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/news/the-latest-directions-from-the-chief-health-officer