Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal operations with COVID-19 in the community
Chairperson – Dale Clarkson
Effective from Tuesday 13 September 2022
This protocol sets out a framework for ensuring that everyone who needs to participate in proceedings is able to do so. The primary considerations that underpin this protocol, and decisions under it, are the interests of justice and the protection of the health and safety of everyone in the court building.
This protocol applies subject to any directions given by the presiding chairperson in a particular case. The presiding chairperson may direct that requirements set out in this protocol do not apply in a particular case if the chairperson is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so.
ENTRY TO COURT BUILDINGS
The following requirements apply to entry into court buildings:
(a) A person may not enter the court building if they are showing signs of illness;
(b) A person who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 7 days may not enter the court building.
The Tribunal hearings remain open to the public, but for health and safety reasons there may be limits on the number of people who are not directly involved in proceedings who are permitted to be physically present in courtrooms and court buildings.
All persons entering the court building may wear a surgical mask or a KN95 mask and are strongly encouraged to do so when moving around the court building (including courtrooms). Masks will be provided at the entry to the court building for all those who do not have their own mask.
A surgical mask or KN95 mask must be worn by all persons present in a courtroom, or by specified persons in a courtroom, if the presiding chairperson so directs.
CONDUCT OF HEARINGS
All matters listed for hearing will be conducted in person unless a chairperson directs otherwise. Directions may be given for some types of hearing to be conducted remotely.
A party may seek a direction that a matter should be conducted with all participants appearing remotely. A request for a matter to be conducted remotely should be made with as much notice as possible, and where practicable five working days in advance.
A party, counsel or other participant may apply to participate in a hearing by remote technology. A request for a participant to appear remotely should be made with as much notice as possible, and where practicable five working days in advance.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS (RATS)
A participant who has any symptoms of Covid-19 must take a RAT before attending court.
The presiding chairperson may direct that some or all participants in a hearing longer than one day must take a RAT in the morning before attending court, on such days as the chairperson directs.
The Registry will advise counsel and any party who is not legally represented of the arrangements for obtaining RATS from the court.
If a participant receives a positive COVID-19 test result, they must not attend court (and if present at court, must promptly leave). Whether and how the hearing may be able to continue will be a matter for the presiding Chairperson to determine on a case-by-case basis.
If a court participant is required to take a RAT, and declines to do so, the presiding Chairperson will determine whether and how the hearing will proceed.
Accredited news media will have entry to the Court in order to report court proceedings, and to ensure continued open and transparent justice. Remote access for accredited news media will continue to be facilitated in accordance with current protocols.