New COVID-19 restrictions - message from the Chief Justice

16 JULY 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.

The Victorian courts and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) will implement their contingency plans in response to the latest five-day lockdown announced yesterday to address the recent outbreak of a highly infectious strain of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said the courts and VCAT would revert back to the arrangements during the May circuit breaker restrictions.

“As always, we are well placed to respond to the latest advice,” Chief Justice Ferguson said.

“The courts and VCAT have continued to operate and deliver justice through all levels of restrictions, including those in February and May of this year.

“In line with the public health advice, matters will be held in person only where it is not practicable for them to be held remotely and it is essential that they proceed. The courts and VCAT will continue to hear as many matters as possible remotely. Some matters may be adjourned for a period of time.

“We will continue to follow public health advice and take all steps possible to minimise potential disruption and ensure matters are dealt with in a timely way.”

Chief Justice Ferguson said that jury trials which are already underway will continue, following COVID-safe plans, although a few may be adjourned. No new criminal jury trials will begin until restrictions ease.

“The health and safety of all court and tribunal participants is of the highest priority,” Chief Justice Ferguson said.

“We again thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding as we work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”