Extension of Covid-19 Circuit Breaker Restrictions - Message from the Chief Justice of Victoria

4 JUNE 2021

The following update is from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria and Chair of Courts Council, Anne Ferguson, on behalf of the Victorian courts and VCAT.

Message from the Chief Justice

Further to the message from Thursday, 27 May, 2021, the Victorian courts and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) will continue under their current arrangements in Melbourne for the next seven days following the extension of Circuit Breaker Restrictions.

Remote hearings will continue, with in-person hearings proceeding where it is not practicable to proceed remotely. The commencement of new jury trials in Melbourne will remain suspended during this period. Every effort will be made to re-list any vacated trials as soon as possible.

With the easing of restrictions in regional Victoria, changes will be made in regional courts, as follows.

Magistrate Court venues in regional Victoria will continue to hear matters as  via the Online Magistrates’ Court or, where appropriate, in-person. The Children’s Court will also operate via remote and some in-person hearings in the regions. 

The commencement of new jury trials will resume in regional locations from 7 June 2021. 

Density limits will apply in court buildings other than spaces being used for jury trials. Masks will be required to be worn in all regional courts subject to exemptions. 

The restrictions recognise that some who are Melbourne-based will need to travel to regional areas to provide services related to the administration of justice, including the operation of courts.

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said the courts were pleased to be able to resume the in-person hearings in regional Victoria which had not be able to proceed during restrictions, in line with the latest public health advice. The Chief Justice said they were also conscious that people travelling to regional locations for this purpose would continue to be subject to Melbourne-based restrictions to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

'The just and timely  of matters across Victoria is our priority,' Chief Justice Ferguson said.  

'The courts and VCAT will continue to operate in Melbourne and regional Victoria in accordance with the restrictions applicable to each location, and we again thank everyone involved as we work to prevent the spread of coronavirus.'