Children’s Court Practice Direction 11 of 2020 and our fees

Children’s Court Practice Direction 11 of 2020 and our fees

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

The Children’s Court of Victoria has recently issued Practice Direction 11 of 2020 for matters in the criminal division, as part of its ongoing response to COVID-19.

Unless the court directs otherwise all proceedings will be held remotely by audio visual link (including WebEx).

For both custody and non-custody matters, the court is directing parties to conduct a summary case conference at least seven days prior to the scheduled mention date. Where practicable, this should occur remotely via audio visual link.

No later than three days prior to the mention date the legal representative for the child must email the Children’s Court registry and prosecution advising whether the charges have resolved to a plea of guilty, to which charges, or whether the charges require a contest mention.

We encourage practitioners to record all efforts to resolve or progress the matter on the file.

If the charges have resolved to a plea of guilty then the Court will schedule a remote plea/sentence hearing.

Children’s capability to appear remotely

The onus is on the legal representative to confirm that the child has the capability to appear remotely. To do this you should actively consider:

  • Whether the child has access to an internet connected computer, smart phone or device.
  • Whether the child has access to a safe, quiet place where they will not be interrupted for the hearing.
  • Whether the child has any communication barriers.
  • Whether the child has a family member, friend or support worker who can assist them to access the webex hearing if required.

Youth Justice has also advised that it will work proactively with practitioners where the child is on bail to facilitate resolution, where practicable. It will also work with young people and their families to ensure they have access to appropriate technology.

Special mention fees

If the child cannot appear remotely or it is inappropriate for them to appear remotely, the court will adjourn the plea/sentence for a special mention in October 2020.

The special mention fee of $165 can be claimed for this appearance.

More information

Visit our COVID-19 information for lawyers hub for the latest COVID-19 updates and resources for practitioners.

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