COVID-19 and criminal hearings in the Magistrates’ Court

COVID-19 and criminal hearings in the Magistrates’ Court

 The Magistrates’ Court has changed the way it works because of COVID-19 coronavirus. There are four things you need to know:

  • some court hearings are being adjourned (moved to a later date)
  • you may not need to go to court until later in the year
  • it depends on what type of hearing you have and whether you are in custody
  • if you are not sure about your rights, or whether you must go to court, you can get legal advice. See Get help with COVID-19 coronavirus.

Will my court case go ahead?

The court is adjourning many hearings. If your case is adjourned, that means it will be moved to a new date. Whether your case will be adjourned depends on the type of hearing you have and whether you are in custody. See Do I still need to go to court?

If your case is adjourned, the court will let you know the new date for your hearing by sending you a letter with the new date.

Do I still need to go to court?

The court has made special rules about hearings for people who are not in custody.

You may not need to go to court, depending on what type of hearing you have.

You must go to court if you have a filing hearing and do not have a lawyer representing you.

If you have a committal mention, it depends:

  • if you do not have a lawyer, you must go to court for your committal mention
  • if you have a lawyer, you do not need to go to court unless you choose not to have a committal hearing. That means you want to go to trial in the County Court or Supreme Court without having a committal hearing first. If you decide not to have a committal hearing, you must go to court to say whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty.

If you have a different type of hearing, you do not need to go to court until the new date.

You can look at your paperwork from the police or court to see what type of a hearing you have. If you cannot find your paperwork, you can search your case online.

If you are not sure whether you need to go to court, contact the Magistrates’ Court or get legal advice. See Get help.

What if I am on bail?

You must go to court on the new date. The court will automatically extend your bail to the new court date.

You need to keep following your bail conditions until the new court date. If you do not follow your bail conditions, you could be arrested and put in custody until your hearing.

If you are not sure whether you need to go to court, contact the Magistrates’ Court or get legal advice. See Get help.

When will my hearing be?

Your new court date will be in the second half of this year. The court will send you a letter telling you when your new court date is. The court should send you this letter within six weeks of your current hearing date.

If you do not receive a letter from the court, you can search your case online to find out your new hearing date or ask your lawyer (if you have one).

What if I my contact details change?

If you change your address or telephone number, it is important to tell the Magistrates’ Court. The court will need to contact you to tell you when your hearing will be.

If you are on bail, you must tell the police immediately if you change your address or telephone number. 

More information

Learn more about legal issues and COVID-19 coronavirus

See our Find legal answers page on Going to court for a criminal charge

See our Find Legal Answers page Family Violence

Where to get help

See Get help with COVID-19 coronavirus

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