In the current challenging and rapidly-evolving environment, we want to assure our clients that AGS has a robust Business Continuity Plan in place to ensure that we can reliably continue to do your work. We are confident we can provide uninterrupted service to our clients. We will continue to maintain an open line of communication with all clients, and via this centre, we will provide timely updates and resources that may be useful to you during this evolving period.
- AGS client service during COVID-19 – updated 8 April 2020
- Australian jurisdictions responses to COVID-19 – last updated 26 February 2021
- Cross-examination by video in the COVID-19 context (Law Society of NSW Journal, September 2020 edition) – last updated 7 September 2020
- Effecting service electronically – last updated 23 June 2020
- Fact sheet: Execution solutions for remote working arrangements – last updated 28 October 2020
- FOI & Privacy Information Law Update – last updated 8 April 2020
- Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies – last updated 8 April 2020
- Updates on Court Arrangements – last updated 9 April 2020
Updates on Court Arrangements
Many Courts are making alternative arrangements for hearings and other listings due to the Coronavirus. We have provided below links to the information pages on the relevant Court websites and identified some of the critical updates to be aware of.
Federal Courts and Tribunals
High Court of Australia
- Notices regarding the Court’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak are published on the High Court’s homepage.
- High Court of Australia – new HCA Video Connection Protocol Updated 9 April 2020
Federal Court of Australia
- See all the latest updates on the Federal Court’s News and Events page.
- Note in particular the Special Measures in Response to COVID-19 (SMIN-1) Practice Note Updated 31 March 2020.
- We are aware that the Federal Court has been using a number of platforms to allow some hearings to progress via video conference including Microsoft Teams and Immediation.
- The Federal Court has published a Guide to Virtual Hearings and Microsoft Teams. The guide has been developed to assist those people appearing in virtual hearings in the Federal Court using Microsoft Teams. The guide is to be read in conjunction with the updated Special Measures Information Note (SMIN-1).
- The Federal Court has published a new Special Measures Information Note (SMIN-3) which sets out arrangements for the conduct and management of appeals and Full Court hearings during the COVID 19 outbreak. It applies to the May Full Court sittings. Updated 7 April 2020
Federal Circuit Court
- Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court – released a Practitioner guide to electronic Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The Courts are conducting ADR events using Microsoft Teams videoconferencing and/or teleconferencing. Updated 30 April 2020
- COVID-19 updates and information are published on the Court’s website.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- The AAT has published a page on the Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on our services.
- Please note that as at 25 March 2020 the AAT had also temporarily suspended the issuing of non-urgent summonses.
- We understand there are 2 categories of documents that cannot be sent via the AAT Online services:
- Section 37 documents (T-documents) which should be sent in hard copy
- documents produced in response to a summons which should be sent in hard copy, or on a read only DVD/CD, or on a USB flash drive.
Fair Work Commission
- See all the latest updates on the Fair Work Commission’s Updates & Advice page.
National Native Title Tribunal
- The NNTT’s website provides guidance on the NNTT’s delivery of services during the COVID-19 event.
State and Territory courts and tribunals
- ACT Courts and Tribunals have launched a new electronic lodgement system (eLodgment) to help provide access to the courts while COVID-10 related restrictions are in place.
- See the Advice to Court Users in response to the COVID-19 Virus for information about the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court of the ACT:
- Note in particular Supreme Court Practice Direction 1 of 2020 and Registrars Guidelines issued 23 March
- Magistrates Court Interim Practice Direction COVID-19 Measures (No 4) dated 27 March 2020.
- The ACAT Latest News page provides updates on changes to ACAT operations.
New South Wales
- Supreme Court of NSW - Announcements.
- District Court of NSW – See the latest news page for information including in relation to Procedural Changes in the District Court - Covid-19 as at 25 March 2020.
- Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales - DDT COVID-19 Operations dated 23 March 2020.
- Local Court of NSW – See general guidance on the Local Court Coronavirus information page:
- Supreme Court of Victoria – See the latest updates from the Court on the Coronavirus Information page:
- Latest information relates to Registry Operations – dated 31 March 2020.
- Magistrate’s Court of Victoria – Changes to operations during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Note the issue of new Practice Directions for the management of matters during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Notices in relation to the Queensland Courts’ response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are available on the Queensland Courts information page.
- Supreme Court of Western Australia – News Updates
- District Court of Western Australia – News Updates
- Family Court of Western Australia – News and Media Releases
- Magistrates Court of Western Australia – Public Notices
- The Law Society of South Australia has compiled a useful resource summarising the various updates and information impacting the Legal Profession in South Australia.
- Supreme Court of South Australia:
- 27 March 2020 – General News release from the Principal Registrar of the Higher Courts of SA advising of special measures in place for four weeks beginning 14 April
- 26 March 2020 – General News release advising that from 30 March all mediations will be postponed
- 24 March 2020 - Communication from the Supreme Court: Practice Changes COVID-19.
- South Australian Employment Tribunal – Attendances at SAET dated 18 March 2020.
- The Courts Administration Authority has separately advised measures being taken in the courts and requirements of parties – see letter of 16 March 2020 from the States Court Administrator, available on the Law Society website here.
- Magistrates Court – Notice to Parties and Practitioners dated 17 March 2020.
- Supreme Court of Tasmania –- see general Media Releases on the Publications page:
- Note also the Circular addressing e-filing arrangements dated 25 March 2020 and a Practice Direction advising of new arrangements relating to COVID-19 dated 24 March 2020.
Effecting service electronically
AGS has established an e-service email address that can be used for service of originating processes on the Commonwealth or naming the Attorney-General or Minister for Industrial Relations, or personally as performing functions in these Ministerial roles: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This platform has been established to remove the need for people to attend an AGS office to serve originating documents, consistent with the Government’s directions to practise social distancing. The service is not able to be used for the service of any court documents, including subpoenas, other than originating processes. The service is also not for use by parties to litigation in which AGS is the solicitor on the record. Documents to be served by parties in existing proceedings in which AGS is the solicitor on the record should continue to be served in the usual way, electronically, on the responsible AGS solicitor.
When an originating process is delivered to email@example.com, an automatic response will be sent advising that service cannot be taken to have been effected until formal confirmation is received from AGS that service has been accepted.
AGS will review the documents and a formal email confirmation will be sent to advise when service has been accepted. The timing of AGS’s response may depend on the nature of the documents being served. Acceptance of service will, for the purpose of any limitation period, be assessed as at the date AGS receives an originating process at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions about this service, please contact Meredith Allen at email@example.com.
Personal service can still be effected if you do not have access to email. Please call the relevant local contact below to make an appointment to attend one of our offices. Office numbers will divert to mobile where required:
Canberra: Matthew Blunn – 02 6253 7424
Adelaide: Nerida Nelson – 08 8205 4230
Brisbane: Jane Lye – 07 3360 5736
Darwin: Nerida Nelson – 08 8205 4230
Hobart: David Wilson – 03 6210 2101
Melbourne: Katrina Close – 03 9242 1230
Perth: Peter Macliver – 08 9268 1100
Sydney: Kristy Alexander – 02 9581 7640
AGS client service during COVID-19
AGS has arrangements in place to continue to provide uninterrupted service to our clients and to contribute to the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Our offices remain open in each State and Territory.
If necessary, clients can attend AGS offices to sign or deliver original documents.
All AGS staff working remotely have the support required to enable them to do so effectively, in a way which respects client confidentiality.
Our full workforce continues to be available and engaged, working to assist clients.
Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies
The Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies, agreed by the National Cabinet, has been released.
It will be up to each state/territory to legislate the code in each jurisdiction: ‘The Code will be given effect through relevant state and territory legislation or regulation as appropriate’.
The Code states that it will come into effect in all states and territories ‘from a date following 3 April 2020… to be defined by each jurisdiction’.