THE MAGISTRATES COURT OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA 

CONSOLIDATED ARRANGEMENTS FOR MAGISTRATES COURTS FROM 4 JANUARY 2022 

Reviewed 21 March 2022

All Magistrates Court locations will move to a higher level of COVID restrictions from 4 JANUARY 2022.

The Magistrates Court has a responsibility to protect judiciary, staff, and court users.

The Magistrates Court has a high volume of traffic in court buildings and many people attending court are particularly vulnerable members of our community who are unvaccinated or may have been at an exposure site. This puts the judiciary, staff and court users at risk of coming into contact with a COVID-19 case.

Increasing COVID restrictions can mitigate that risk whilst we continue to deliver essential Magistrates Court services.

These higher-level restrictions will be reviewed in the week commencing 11 April 2022 unless there is a significant shift in the number of exposure sites or other risks which warrant introducing additional restrictions.

Note:  Where reference to AVL is made in this document, please note that the use of AVL is dependent on the availability of the technology and may not be available at all locations. 

COVID SAFETY INITIATIVES 

  • Sheriff’s Officers ask a list of predetermined questions to all court users at Point of Entry.
  • Masks are available for court users.
  • Hand Sanitiser is provided at Point of Entry, lifts and in courtrooms.
  • COVID signage is posted to support social distancing.
  • Important COVID-19 information is posted on the CourtSA website. 

ATTENDANCE AT COURT BUILDINGS – GENERAL DIRECTIVES

Entry to court buildings will be restricted to court users and media with business with the court where possible, to reduce the number of people in court buildings and courtrooms.

Court users are encouraged to attend court alone, or with only one support person, rather than multiple family members and friends.

Rather than attending a Magistrates Court building in person for enquiries, court users and media should telephone or email the Contact Centre.

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, by the judicial officer, from this obligation and the mask removed while speaking.

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

  • been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results, or
  • been directed to isolate or quarantine by SA Health, or
  • are experiencing symptoms – 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.
  • Provide proof of a COVID-19 test result or obtain a certificate from your doctor and provide it to the court. You will be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 test at your next court appearance.
  • 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)
  • Provide proof of a COVID-19 test result or obtain a certificate from your doctor and provide it to the court. You will be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 test at your next court appearance.
  • 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 and observe density limits.

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.

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 into 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

Court Volunteer Service is operating.

Justice of the Peace Service is operating.

School visits suspended.

External bookings for court facilities cancelled. 

ARRANGEMENTS FOR CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

Listings and trials 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 will appear by AVL.

Defendants in custody will appear by AVL or telephone, except for trials, Treatment Intervention Court, Nunga Court and Aboriginal Community Courts where appropriate.

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.

Circuits will continue but may be conducted by AVL. Court users should check the CourtSA website before attending.

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 1.00 pm on the business day prior to the day of the hearing. 

Requests to appear by AVL or Telephone

Prosecution will appear in person from 21 February 2022 in CBD and metropolitan courts. Prosecution may still appear by AVL in general lists in country courts with the exception of Port Augusta, Whyalla, Mount Gambier and Berri where they will be expected to appear in person.

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

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 1.00 pm on the business day 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 some 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 police prosecution matters 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 1.00 pm on the business day prior to the day of the hearing.

For prosecution matters 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 later than 1.00 pm on the business day 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 business days prior to the day of the hearing.

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

Major Indictable Matters 

The ODPP and MIBU (police prosecution) may appear by AVL.

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 ODPP 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 by 1.00 pm the business day 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 ODPP no later than 1.00 pm the business day prior to the day of the hearing.

‘I, (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

Parties in civil matters may be asked to appear by telephone, AVL or WebEx. If this is to occur notification will be made by the Court otherwise attendance in person is required.

Alternatively 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 on the business day prior the hearing. 

Hearings and Trials in All Actions

Hearings includes directions hearings, applications listed for argument, drivers licence appeals, Registrars Investigation and Examination Summons hearings 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.

Investigation and Examination summons hearings will be conducted by telephone. 

Mediations

Magistrates Court mediations will be conducted in person where social distancing can be achieved and masks are worn. Alternatively, they may be conducted by phone, AVL or WebEx.

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 or seek permission to appear by phone.

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

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