Supreme Court

​Temporary changes to registry services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

​Virtual Courtrooms

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Practitioner factsheet updated on 23 March

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Can I use Skype or Zoom to appear by video before the Court?

No, the only way you can appear by video or telephone before the Court is by using the virtual courtroom instructions generally outlined in this factsheet combined with the specific connection detailed in the listing notice issued in your case or email communication chambers or the Registrar has sent you.

While the Court and registry continue to operate at this time, essential social distancing measures mean we must temporarily modify how we deliver our services to you.

This page summarises the resources available and processes in place to ensure the court can continue to operate by minimising the need for physical interaction and trips to our courtroom and registry locations in Sydney's CBD.

Virtual courtrooms

Unless you are involved in an ongoing jury trial, or have leave from a judge to physically appear in exceptional circumstances, physical appearance is not required in any proceedings. A range of alternative options are available so you can continue to progress your case without physically attending the courtroom. The options include:

  • Virtual courtroom appearance by phone or video

  • Appearing in the Online Court

  • Teleconference mediations 

  • Appearing by audiovisual link.

The specific option that applies to your case will vary according to whether you need to appear in a criminal or civil case, the stage at which your case is at, and the list into which your case is being managed.

If you need to appear in a virtual courtroom, the general process is outlined in this document. The listing notice the registry will email you the day before your listing event will include additional essential details to facilitate your appearance.

Online Court appearances will continue to be required in accordance with the relevant Practice Note provisions.

Mediations will continue to proceed by telephone. The registrar will determine if the mediation cannot go ahead based upon reasons supplied by parties, but there is a presumption that the mediation will take place. The registrar will contact the parties in any mediation no later than 48 hours prior to the mediation date with telephone participation details, or to confirm that the mediation is postponed if telephone participation is impractical.

In criminal cases:

  • Bails list: applicants will continue to attend by audio visual link and representatives can appear virtually by phone or videoconferencing.

In civil cases:

  • Adoptions List: follow the procedures set out in this document.
  • Commercial List, Technology & Construction List and Commercial Arbitration List: follow the procedures set out in this document.
  • Corporations List: if your matter is before a Registrar, Online Court is available in accordance with Practice Note SC Eq 4. If your matter is before a Judge, the temporary procedures are set out in this document.
  • Defamation List: follow the procedures set out in this document.
  • Equity General List: if your matter is before a Registrar, Online Court is available in accordance with SC Eq 14. Virtual courtroom appearances before judges managing cases can be accommodated and parties will be contacted with details.
  • Expedition List: follow the procedures set out in this document.
  • Possession List: if your matter is before a Registrar, Online Court is available in accordance with Practice Note SC CL 6. Virtual courtroom appearances before judges managing cases can be accommodated and parties will be contacted with details.
  • Real Property: follow the procedures set out in this document.
  • Succession List (matters formerly entered into the Family Provision and Probate Lists): telephone appearances will be available. You will be contacted with details of how to participate by phone.

Modified registry procedures

While face to face transactions in the registry are not possible, we have had to modify the way accept documents for filing, enable uplift or retrieval of documents, and deliver other services such as duty registrar guidance and witnessing oaths of office.

Filing modifications

The current modified document filing options are detailed below. These procedures may change over time and this page will be updated regularly. 

Filing documents in civil appeals* and cases, including probate
 
* see special instructions below in relation to Appeal books and Lists of Authorities.
 

 

Check the list of available forms to file through the Online Registry.

If your document not available to file online, or is too large, you can email scanned copies to sc.emailfiling@justice.nsw.gov.au. The subject line of your email should include the case number and title into which you need to file documents. Unless cases are being heard together, only include one case number per email (i.e. do not send documents for multiple cases in a single email). This will greatly assist staff manage the filings.

If your document is very large, you may need to split it across multiple emails. If you need to do this, please clearly indicate this in the subject line, for example, "Case number 2020/123456, Sample Plaintiff v Sample Defendant, PART 1 OF 2". If this is not feasible, you can post or DX your documents to the Court.

If you are filing an application for probate, the will must be scanned without dismantling the original and removing any staples from the document e.g. on a flatbed scanner. You will also need to post the original will to the Court along with all supporting documents.

You will receive confirmation of your filing by reply email, including an invoice for any filing fees payable.

Filing documents in criminal cases, including bails, and criminal appeals

​Email documents to sc.emailfiling@justice.nsw.gov.au. The subject line of your email should include the case number and title into which you need to file documents. Unless cases are being heard together, only include one case number per email (i.e. do not send documents for multiple cases in a single email). This will greatly assist staff manage the filings.

If your document is very large, you may need to split it across multiple emails. If you need to do this, please clearly indicate this in the subject line, for example, "Case number 2020/123456, R v Sample Accused, PART 1 OF 2". If this is not feasible, you can post or DX your documents to the Court.

Producing documents under subpoena

​If you need to produce documents after receiving a subpoena in a civil case, upload your documents through the subpoena response portal.

If you need to produce documents into a criminal case, email them to sc.subpoena@justice.nsw.gov.au.  

Submitting Appeal Books (including amended books) and Lists of Authorities to the Court of Appeal

Make an appointment by emailing courtofappeal@justice.nsw.gov.au to attend the Court to drop off or collect Appeal Books for amendment. The collect drop off will be on the ground level foyer Law Courts Building. A registry officer  will meet you in the foyer to receive the books at the scheduled time, or hand them to you for amendment. Please bring a pen to sign a receipt and adhere to social distancing rules. The registry officer will wait no more than 5 minutes after the appointment time. If you are running late you must notify the registry, otherwise you will need to make another appointment. If you are feeling unwell on the scheduled day, you are required to reschedule your appointment

If you need to provide Lists of Authorities in an upcoming appeal, hard copies are no longer accepted. You can email a PDF version of your list to COA.reasearcher@courts.nsw.gov.au by 10am 3 days before the hearing.

Applying for fee postponement or waiver with documents for filing

​Email a scanned copy of your completed fee postponement/waiver application form to sc.emailfiling@justice.nsw.gov.au, along with scanned copies of the documents you wish to file.

Filing a costs assessment application or review

​Email a scanned copy of your application and any supporting attachments to sc.emailfiling@justice.nsw.gov.au. If your document is very large, you may need to split it across multiple emails. If you need to do this, please clearly indicate this in the subject line, for example, "Case number 2020/123456, Sample Applicant v Sample Respondent, PART 1 OF 2". If this is not feasible, you can post or DX your documents to the Court.

Viewing, retrieving and uplifting material

​Viewing a court file

​Use the Online Registry for civil cases or email your application for physical documents to sc.fileaccess@justice.nsw.gov.au. To help the registry process your application quickly, please identify any specific documents likely to be of interest in your covering email. Wherever possible, staff will scan any physical documents and email them to you to preclude the need for any visit to the registry.   

Access involving third parties will be assessed as to urgency.

Viewing material produced under subpoena

​Use the Online Registry to view material produced in civil cases. If you need to view material produced in a criminal case or the item is bulky, complete the subpoena access application form in the usual way. Registry staff will either email the material to you, or contact you with details of an appointed time at which you can access the material.

Uplifting lower court files in civil appeals

Make an appointment by emailing courtofappeal@justice.nsw.gov.au to  attend the Court to collect  the lower court file.

The collection point will be on the ground level foyer Law Courts Building. Please bring your own pen to sign a receipt adhere to social distancing rules.  A registry officer will meet you in the foyer  to supply the file at the scheduled time.  The registry officer will wait no more than 5 minutes after the appointment time. If you are running late you must notify the registry, otherwise you will need to make another appointment.  If you are feeling unwell on the scheduled day, you are required to reschedule your appointment.

Other registry services

Duty registrar services

​Monday to Friday by telephone only. Email

sc.enquiries@justice.nsw.gov.au for an appointment time. Appointments by telephone will remain limited to 20 minutes in duration.

Oaths of Office

Make an appointment by emailing sc.enquiries@justice.nsw.gov.au. to  attend the Court to take the Oath.  The Oath will be taken on ground level foyer of the Law Courts Building. Please bring your own pen and you will need to adhere to social distancing rules.  The registrar will meet you in the foyer  for the purpose of taking the Oath at the scheduled time.  The registrar will wait no more than 5 minutes after the appointment time. If you are running late you must notify the registry, otherwise you will need to make another appointment. If you are feeling unwell on the day the Oath is to be taken, you are required to reschedule your appointment.

​Quick links to digital services

Hot topics

Will the registry accept unwitnessed documents?

While it may be more difficult to find a person authorised to witness a document at the moment, the registry has to comply with current legislative requirements. Registry staff do not have the authority to dispense with the provisions of the Oaths Act 1900, and documents submitted for filing must be witnessed in accordance with the Act. A legislative amendment would need to occur before the witnessing requirements could be waived.