Virtual hearings could be coming to an end
THIS month may be the last time matters are heard virtually, with courthouses across the state likely to transition to a new practice direction within the next fortnight.
All matters are set to be heard from the Stanthorpe Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, after April’s hearings had been conducted from Warwick.
In the meantime, a spokesman from the Office of the Chief Magistrate said hearings would continue via phone or video call.
“All courthouses, including Warwick and Stanthorpe are currently planning for physical distancing protocols to be in place as the courts transition to hearing more matters.
“The court is encouraging electronic adjournments, consent orders and appearances of lawyers at call overs by telephone and video.
“Courts will continue to abide by social distancing guidelines as recommended by health experts.
“Seating and standing arrangements will cater for the 1.5 metre social distancing guideline.”
Magistrates Courts across Queensland are currently operating under Practice Direction No. 3 of 2020 which states:
On and from 30 March 2020 there will be no physical appearances in any matter except:
(a) By an Aggrieved in an urgent non-police, private domestic violence application
(b) The media
(c) With leave of the Court
All matters will be conducted by telephone or video conference including appearances by persons in custody.
The Court is equipped to utilise online court, audio visual equipment and digital technology to allow matters to continue remotely.