Bail, Juries & COVID-19: How the Legal Industry is Responding

Every profession has had to change how they operate during COVID-19, including the law. The District Court of NSW have implemented a range of safety measures and innovations to ensure the legal industry can continue to practice. Here are the current changes to be aware of.

Juries returning from 15 June 2020

To comply with social distancing measures and government health advice, juries have been temporarily suspended since March 2020. The District Court recently announced that some venues will see a return to jury trials beginning on 15 June 2020. Measures to ensure the safety of all courtroom participants include:

  • Temperature testing
  • Social distancing measures
  • Increased commercial cleaning

They will also allow juries to be spread out across the courtroom to support social distancing practices.

Bail applications

As the COVID-19 situation progresses, many court cases have experienced significant delays. A number of criteria from the Bail Act 2013 may allow for bail applications due to COVID-19. These criteria include:

  • Whether the accused has been exposed to COVID-19
  • How long the person has been in custody and whether their trial is delayed
  • The likelihood of a custodial sentence should the accused be convicted of their offence
  • Any special vulnerability of the person such as youth, being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or mental health impairments

Since April 1, most bail applications have been reviewed solely by a Judge and without personal appearances. In some circumstances, a Virtual Court Room may be used.

If you or someone you know would like to pursue a bail application at this time, please reach out to our offices on 1800 100 529 for professional legal advice.

Virtual court rooms

With health advice advocating for limited group interactions, the District Court have put in provisions for a Virtual Court Room. This means in some circumstances a trial may be run via video conferencing. To understand your obligations in the Virtual Court Room, view this guide or speak with your legal representative.

Professional representation from the team at Powerhouse Law

No matter what situation the world finds itself in, the team at Powerhouse Law are committed to representing your rights under the law. We have years of experience in criminal and traffic law and may also assist you with appeals or bail applications. Call us for advice 24/7 on 1800 100 529 or submit our online form and we’ll be in touch soon.

All details are correct as at 19-05-2020. For continued updates of measures taken by the District Court of NSW, view their coronavirus updates.

 

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