Local Court of NSW delays hearings as it becomes ‘severely affected’ by Omicron cases

By Jackson Graham

January 19, 2022

All defended hearings are on hold statewide. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

Hearings will be delayed in the Local Court of NSW for nearly three weeks as the court becomes the latest public office to adjust its operations amid the spread of Omicron. 

In consultation with stakeholders, chief magistrate Peter Johnstone made the decision on Tuesday to vacate all defended hearings statewide until and including Friday, February 4. 

The delay extends to defendants in custody.

The NSW Local Court said in a statement that it “continues to be severely affected by COVID cases”. 

“The matters will remain listed for callover, parties who are legally represented are excused from attendance and legal practitioners can appear via AVL or email to seek a further hearing date,” the statement said. 

Unrepresented parties are directed to make contact prior to the hearing date with the appropriate court registry and advise of any unavailable dates so that the matter can be given a further hearing date.”

Law Society of NSW president Joanne van der Plaat told The Mandarin that the society accepted why the decision was necessary. 

“We appreciate the challenge that the courts are facing during this current outbreak to protect the health and wellbeing of all court users, the judiciary and court staff, whilst ensuring ongoing access to justice,” van der Plaat said. 

 “It is understandable that court services and processes need to adapt in light of the current Omicron outbreak.”


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