9 August 2021

​THE MAGISTRATES COURT OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA 

ARRANGEMENTS FOR MAGISTRATES COURTS FROM 10 AUGUST 2021

Consistent with SA Government guidelines relating to the management of public places during the COVID-19 health emergency, the Magistrates Court issues the following revised directives to parties and practitioners regarding appearances in Court from 10 August 2021. They may be revised as new public health announcements are made.

ATTENDANCE AT COURT BUILDINGS – GENERAL DIRECTIVES

Parties and practitioners are required to wear a mask whilst moving around court buildings and whilst seated in public waiting areas and public galleries. In court, persons required to speak for a protracted period may be excused from this obligation and the mask removed while speaking.

Parties and practitioners are not to come to the Court, if they have:

  • a confirmed case of COVID-19, or
  • been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or
  • been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results, or
  • been directed to isolate or quarantine by SA Health;
  • arrived from overseas or from a cruise ship within the past 14 days, or
  • arrived from a State whose border is closed or restricted by the South Australian Government within the past 14 days, or
  • a fever or chills (with no alternative illness that explains these symptoms), cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of taste and smell.

Obligations to appear in court may be excused in certain circumstances. If you do not intend to appear because you honestly and reasonably believe you should self-isolate,,you should do the following to support any application you may later wish to make to be excused from your obligation:

Criminal Jurisdiction

  • Contact CourtSA by email enquiry@courts.sa.gov.auor phone 8204 2444 to advise the Court.
  • If you are represented, tell your lawyer.
  • Contact SA Police or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions by telephone.
  • Obtain a certificate from your doctor.
  • If you are already at the court building, seek assistance from Sheriff’s Officers to complete a Proof of Attendance Contact Details form.

Civil Jurisdiction

  • Contact CourtSA by email enquiry@courts.sa.gov.auor phone 8204 2444 at least 24 hours prior to the hearing
  • If you are represented, tell your lawyer.
  • If possible, advise the other party(s)
  • Obtain a certificate from your doctor and provide it to the court.
  • If you are already at the court building, seek assistance from Sheriff’s Officers to complete a Proof of Attendance Contact Details form.

If a party or practitioner has a condition that makes them vulnerable to infection and for that reason does not feel safe attending at the Court, they should advise the registry by 9.30am on the day before the hearing, provide a direct contact phone number and seek leave of the Court to appear at the hearing by phone.

Parties should allow extra time to be processed through point of entry security when entering court buildings due to social distancing measures.

Parties and practitioners are not to approach Court staff and must always maintain a minimum distance from others of 1.5 metres.

No documents are to be handed up in Court.

Where possible, parties should lodge documents via CourtSA. https://courtsa.courts.sa.gov.au

​Where it is not possible to use CourtSA, documents should be filed in the approved form by email or post (addresses provided at the end of this document).

All emailed documents should be signed and lodged in PDF format. Documents too large for email should be posted or lodged in a registry filing box located in a Magistrates Court building.

All documents including written submissions, must be submitted to the Court no later than 1 clear working day before the hearing.

Communication with the Court is required to be via the CourtSA website (Portal) or email to the relevant court.

Parties and practitioners are reminded of the requirement that all parties must be copied in to any email communication with the Court.

Parties are required to bring their own water as water jugs will not be provided in courtrooms and water fountains are unavailable.

Lecterns have been removed from all courtrooms. However, during trials and lengthy hearings they can be made available upon request to in-court staff.

Hand sanitiser will be provided at the following locations in every courtroom

  • Bench
  • Judicial Support Table
  • Bar Table
  • Witness Box
  • Sheriff’s Officer table

ARRANGEMENTS FOR CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

Listing and trials are continuing as scheduled. Circuits are continuing as scheduled.

The court asks to be notified of any parties who are at high risk of serious illness should they be exposed to COVID-19 and will give priority to those matters where possible.

For overnight arrest matters:

  • Prosecution is to provide an Information with an apprehension report attached so that defence can obtain instructions quickly, and
  • All defendants willappear by AVL.

Defendants in custody will appear by AVL or telephone, with the exception of trials and Treatment Intervention Court where they will appear in person.

Parties are also encouraged to put together an agreed statement of facts when a matter is to be called on for a plea where possible.

Modification of Criminal Court Practices

Prosecution and defence are encouraged to negotiate and disclose as much as possible, to attempt to reach an early resolution of matters.

The court will attempt to enable section 22 conferences where possible. A courtroom may be used to allow for social distancing.

Trials that are unable to proceed due to reasons related to COVID-19 restrictions will be adjourned. Where trials can proceed prosecution and defence are to appear in person.

Reports, references and written submissions must be tendered to the Court electronically no later than 1 clear working day before the hearing.

Requests to appear by AVL or Telephone

Requests for attendance by AVL or telephone will be considered favourably by Magistrates but possibly not deemed suitable for guilty pleas.

Prosecution are expected to appear in person whenever possible, subject to the arrangements specified for major indictable matters.

Permission to appear by telephone or AVL can be granted in the following circumstances:

  • Requests by a solicitor for permission to appear by AVL or telephone will be at the discretion of the individual magistrate.
  • If the matter is to involve submissions, the magistrate may be more inclined to allow permission if written submissions have been delivered to the registry mailbox beforehand.
  • Applications to appear by AVL or telephone are to be submitted by email to Registry or the chambers mailbox no later than 2 working days prior to the day of the hearing.

Registry will advise the solicitor of the outcome of the request no later than the day before the hearing.

When submitting a request to appear by telephone the practitioner must:

  • provide a direct landline or mobile telephone number,
  • ensure that he/she is available to answer the telephone,
  • understand that the telephone call may be made at any time during the relevant list,
  • understand that if the telephone call is not answered, the matter will be dealt with in a manner that the relevant magistrate deems appropriate,
  • understand that it is up to the practitioner to inform themselves of the outcome.

AVL is limited to 3 lines for connection.

Practitioners are discouraged from asking to use the AVL facilities of a court to appear by AVL in matters in another court.

WebEx may be used to facilitate hearings. When used, the court registry will email a meeting request to parties. Parties join the hearing by clicking on the button in the email if they have a device with a camera. Alternatively, they can join by telephone using the details provided in the email. It is important that solicitors ensure they make themselves available from the appointed time, bearing in mind that the court may not always call at that exact time.

Administrative Adjournments – First Mention

For a police prosecution any request for an adjournment by a defendant or counsel on the first mention will be allowed administratively, provided that the request is submitted to Registry no later than 2 working days before the day of the hearing.

For a prosecution by any other prosecuting authority any request by a defendant or counsel for an adjournment on the first mention will be allowed administratively so long as that request includes confirmation of the consent of the other party, and the request is submitted to Registry no less than 2 working days prior to the day of the hearing.

For a police or other prosecuting authority prosecution where there are multiple defendants, a request for an administrative adjournment will not be allowed unless it is made by all defendants.

The parties will be advised of the new date by registry.

Administrative Adjournments – Second Mention

Requests for an administrative adjournment of a second mention date will only be allowed if made by a solicitor.

Requests by a solicitor for an adjournment of a second mention will be allowed administratively so long as that request includes confirmation of the consent of the other party, a list of the dates that the solicitor is not available, and provided that the solicitor has not previously appeared on the relevant matter. Any such request is to be submitted no later than 2 working days prior to the day of the hearing.

The parties will be advised of the new date by registry.

Major Indictable Matters

The OPP and MIBU will appear in person from 12 August 2021.

A request to adjourn a major indictable matter without attendance of counsel is at the discretion of the magistrate, and will require confirmation of the consent of MIBU (police prosecution) or the OPP, and must include the reasons for the adjournment.

Practitioners are to email the court confirming the consent of prosecution and providing reasons for the adjournment at least 2 working days before the matter is listed. Permission is at the discretion of the individual magistrate.

If the request is granted, the solicitor will be advised of the new date by registry.

The court will allow pleas to be entered through counsel in the absence of the defendant, provided a copy of the relevant Information with the following endorsement signed by the defendant is delivered by email to the court and the OPP at least one clear business day before the hearing.

‘/, (name of defendant), plead guilty/not guilty to the within charges. Signature. Date’. Practitioners are able to appear remotely at the discretion of the Court and where they have provided the necessary details.

ARRANGEMENTS FOR CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

The Court may permit parties and practitioners to appear by phone after the first directions hearing, where it can be accommodated and there is compliance with arrangements made.

When submitting a request to appear by telephone a party or practitioner must

  • provide a direct landline or mobile telephone number,
  • ensure that he/she is available to answer the telephone,
  • understand that the telephone call may be made at any time during the relevant list,
  • understand that if the telephone call is not answered, the matter will be dealt with in a manner that the relevant magistrate deems appropriate,
  • understand that it is up to the party or practitioner to inform themselves of the outcome.

However, parties and practitioners are encouraged to seek consent orders, if appropriate, which can be made administratively without the need for attendance. Parties and practitioners should send in draft consent orders by email. Emails for consent orders are to be received by Registry by 4.00pm the day before the hearing.

Hearings and Trials in All Actions

‘Hearings’ includes directions hearings, applications listed for argument, drivers licence appeals, Registrars ISUM and enforcement lists.

Subject to the Attendance at Court directives, parties and/or practitioners are to appear in person at Court unless they are granted leave to appear via phone due to one of the reasons listed under Attendance at Court directives at the beginning of this document or at the discretion of the Magistrate.

Mediations

Subject to the Attendance at Court directives at the beginning of this document, mediations will occur in person where social distancing requirements can be met unless the parties are granted leave of the Court or, following consultation with the Mediation Unit, are permitted to appear via phone or video link.

For Mention Only Dates

If a party wishes to be heard on a ‘for mention only’ date they are to advise the Registry by 9.30a.m. on the day before the hearing and provide consent orders or, where there is no consent, they are to appear in person.

In the absence of this advice the action will be determined administratively and may be dismissed.

CONTACT DETAILS FOR MAGISTRATES COURTS

CourtSA website (Portal): https://courtsa.courts.sa.gov.au

​Magistrates Court Registry Contact Details:

Phone:                                                (08) 8204 2444

Email:

Adelaide                                             AMCRegistry@courts.sa.gov.au

Berri                                                   berri@courts.sa.gov.au

Christies Beach                                 christiesbeach@courts.sa.gov.au

Elizabeth                                            elizabeth@courts.sa.gov.au

Mount Gambier                                  mountgambier@courts.sa.gov.au

Murray Bridge                                    murraybridge@courts.sa.gov.au

Port Adelaide                                     portadelaide@courts.sa.gov.au

Port Augusta                                      portaugusta@courts.sa.gov.au

Port Lincoln                                        portlincoln@courts.sa.gov.au

Port Pirie                                            portpirie@courts.sa.gov.au

Whyalla                                              whyalla@courts.sa.gov.au

Postal Address:

Adelaide                                            PO Box 6115, Halifax Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000

Berri                                                   PO Box 235, Berri, SA, 5343

Christies Beach                                PO Box 5, Lonsdale, SA, 5160

Elizabeth                                           PO Box 160, Elizabeth, SA, 5112

Mount Gambier                               PO Box 723, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290

Murray Bridge                                 PO Box 420, Murray Bridge, SA, 5253

Port Adelaide                                   PO Box 3215, Port Adelaide, SA, 5015

Port Augusta                                    PO Box 45, Port Augusta, SA, 5700

Port Lincoln                                     PO Box 266, Port Lincoln, SA, 5606

Port Pirie                                           PO Box 583, Port Pirie, SA, 5540

Whyalla                                              PO Box 694, Whyalla, SA, 5600​

JUDGE MARY-LOUISE HRIBAL
CHIEF MAGISTRATE​