NSW Supreme Court Judges have today resolved not to seek an annual remuneration review in light of present circumstances.
Chief Justice Tom Bathurst said his colleagues had agreed to forego any potential salary increase this year.
"Judges are in a privileged and relatively protected position compared to the great bulk of the community, many of whom are already feeling the devastating effects of what has occurred so far due to the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
"Supreme Court Judges are unanimous that it would be inappropriate for us to seek a pay rise in such circumstances."
Judges' salaries in NSW are set by the Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Tribunal (SOORT), which seeks submissions each year.
Chief Justice Bathurst said he would advise SOORT that the submission of Supreme Court Judges is for no pay increase in 2020.
Henceforth and until further notice, the usual Friday Commercial List, Technology and Construction List and Commercial Arbitration List will not be conducted in open Court.
Matters not disposed of by consent will be dealt with as follows:
The time for consent directions to be sent to his Honour Justice Hammerschlag will be extended to 4.00pm on Thursday prior to the List Day. Where there is no consent the parties are to forward to his Honour by 12.00 noon on the Friday List Day a brief position paper, (not exceeding one page for directions and two pages for motions) identifying what is in dispute and their respective positions on it.
If a hearing date is requested a range of mutual hearing dates should be provided.
His Honour will then determine matters in dispute on the papers unless a hearing is necessary and appropriate. If a party considers a hearing to be necessary and appropriate, it should state this and give reasons why. If a hearing is to be held it is likely to be by audio link or video link. The parties will be notified and arrangements made.
Matters which are not the subject of consent provided to the Associate by 12.00 noon on Thursday will appear in the list, notwithstanding that consent orders may be made later.
Enquiries are to be directed to his Honour's Associate, Colleen Sutton, by email.
Please see the following notice published by Justice AS Bell, President of the Court of Appeal:
Please note that recently published guidelines have been updated in relation to the following Court lists:
It is essential for the wellbeing of the community and the maintenance of the rule of law that the Court continues to operate to the extent possible in the current challenging environment.
The Court is responding to the developing COVID-19 pandemic by reviewing all operations to ensure all essential services are maintained and non-essential services continue for as long as practicable, consistent with health advice.
The Court is equipped to utilise online court, audio visual equipment and digital technology to allow matters to continue remotely.
The Court's paramount consideration remains the wellbeing of all court users. Everyone must adhere to health advice in relation to social distancing, self-isolation, hygiene and the management of symptoms.
In line with the current health advice, on and from Tuesday, 24 March 2020 there shall be no personal appearances in any matters save in exceptional circumstances with the leave of the Chief Justice or head of jurisdiction. This also applies to unrepresented litigants.
The Court will contact parties in relation to future listings to advise of the video and teleconference facilities available for their specific matter. Listings may alter at short notice and practitioners should refer to the Court's website for updates and review the daily listing notices.
The Court will require all Court documents to be provided by electronic means through
Only where facilities do not presently exist for documentation to be provided electronically will those documents will be received by email. Details regarding email contacts for documentation will be provided shortly via the Court's website.
The public registry will remain open on Monday, 23 March 2020 until 4:00pm. The public registry will be closed on and from Tuesday, 24 March 2020. Contact details for the Court Registry are on the Court's website.
Face-to-face duty registrar services will also be suspended. Telephone appointments will continue.
Current jury trials will continue. Current trials already adhere to health advice in relation to social distancing. New jury trials are temporarily suspended.
Face-to-face Court annexed mediations will be temporarily suspended from [Monday, 23 March 2020]. Further information relating to Court annexed mediations will follow shortly. Mediations can proceed by way of teleconference.
The Court will be reviewing all operations with a view to maintaining open justice, consistent with the current constraints and health advice.
Further information can be found at:
23 March 2020
From 23 March 2020, the Probate List and the Family Provision List will be amalgamated into what will be called the Succession List. All Probate and family provision matters will be case managed by Justice P Hallen.
There will be no changes to the current Probate or family provision listing unless the parties are notified of any change.
It is likely that future directions hearings in both Probate and family provision matters will be listed on a Friday before the Succession List Judge. Matters so listed, that are likely to be of more than 15 minutes duration, will be removed from the Friday list, and will be listed on the following Monday before his Honour. If the legal practitioners in a matter, or associated matters, jointly request his Honour, no later than 9:00 a.m. two working days before the Friday on which the matter is listed, to have the matter removed from the Friday Succession List and place it in the Monday Succession List the matter will be removed in advance of the Friday List.
If that request is not made in a timely manner, the matter, or associated matters, will remain in, but be adjourned, from the Friday List to a Monday convenient to the Court.
20 March 2020
Changes to arrangements for registrar lists
Registrars' Lists will be conducted as much as possible either by the online court, where available, or by telephone link and, in the case of contentious matters, by videolink. The parties ARE NOT required to inform the court in advance whether they will be using video or teleconference facilities. All parties with an email address in JusticeLink will be contacted by email with information regarding connecting to the specific court for their listing via video and teleconference. General information regarding the conduct of video and teleconference lists is available here. All parties are strongly encouraged to use the Online Court, where available, telephone or video conference facilities for Registrars' lists and to not attend in person.
The Court publishes the following Guidelines to assist participants in the following Court Lists:
In addition, the Court has published a Fact Sheet to assist participants in the Virtual Courtroom environment:
The Chief Justice, the Hon TF Bathurst AC, and Chief Judge of the District Court, the Hon D Price AM, today announced that due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) new jury trials commencing across NSW from Monday, 16 March 2020, will be temporarily suspended whilst the empanelment process is reviewed and steps are taken to seek to limit the close social contact amongst jurors which is a feature of jury trials. Current trials, where a jury has already been selected and empanelled, will continue.
This decision has been made in response to the Australian Government's advice to limit large gatherings and close social contact over an extended period of time.
Jury service plays an important role in our justice system and the Courts will be assisted by members of the NSW Chief Medical Officer's team to review and amend the current empanelment process to follow current health guidelines.
Judge alone trials, bail applications and civil trials will not be affected. Steps have already been implemented to enable those matters to proceed taking into account the advice received concerning the virus.
The Court continues to monitor the health advice from the Australian and NSW Government's health departments in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and safety of all court users remains of paramount importance whilst maintaining access to justice and essential court services.
The jury system in NSW is administered by the Jury Services Branch of the Office of the Sheriff of New South Wales.
Potential jurors with a summons to attend court should contact the juror information line on 1300 780 199 or visit www.juror.nsw.gov.au.
15 March 2020
The Court is carefully monitoring the Commonwealth and State Governments' announcements and health advice relating to coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an endeavour to contain its effects and keep the Court operational as much as possible, the Court will be implementing the following procedures from Monday, 23 March 2020. The primary aim is to minimise the need for parties to come to the Court in the near future.
Registrars' Lists will be conducted as much as possible either by the online court, where available, or by telephone link and, in the case of contentious matters, by videolink. The parties will be required not less than three (3) business days before their matter is listed before the Registrar to jointly notify the Registrar whether the matter can be dealt with by the online court, telephone, videolink or in person. They will then be given a block of time in which their matter will be heard. Cases in respect of which notification has not been given will be heard in person. Precise arrangements regarding telephone and video hearings will be provided.
A similar approach will be taken in Judges' Lists, subject to specific directions given by the judge administering the list.
In relation to appeals or first instance matters, consideration will be given to dealing with the matters by telephone or Audio Visual Link (AVL).
There will be no changes to the way the Criminal Lists, such as Bails and Arraignments, and current Supreme Court Jury trials are currently being heard.