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Local Court hearings to be vacated to help tackle spread of COVID-19

The NT Local Court is taking measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and will delay many hearings scheduled to take place until June 2020.
Non-custodial hearings will be vacated and listed for Case Management Inquiry (CMI).

CMI's are usually brief procedural listings that enable the matter to be heard by the court at a later date.

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Supreme Court NT front counter services in Alice Springs

Notice #5 to practitioners litigants and the visiting public

  1. Following the developments in the COVID-19 situation, and the need to implement measures to ensure the safety of staff, practitioners, litigants and the visiting public, the public facing counter in Alice Springs closed with effect from Wednesday, 1 April 2020.
  2. While the counter is closed, the Registry will still be operating to provide services and support to practitioners, litigants and the wider community by telephone and email.
  3. Practice Direction 1 of 2020 and 2 of 2020 which are available on the Supreme Court website provide directions in relation to the management of criminal and civil proceedings during closure of the public counters, including the filing, issuing and transmission of court documents.
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Darwin Local Court

Bail and arrest call-over

There will be a call-over of the Darwin Local Court Bail and Arrest list at 9:30am conducted by the A/Darwin Criminal Registrar David Kirby. This will commence as of 2.04.2020.

The purpose will be:

  • To ensure that all electronic filings and Virtual Appearance Slips have been received;
  • To determine which matters are fresh files; and
  • To prioritise those people who are being held in custody in remote Police Stations.

The Judge will come down to commence the list at 10am.

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Supreme Court NT changes to front counter services

Notice #4 to practitioners litigants and the visiting public

Front counter services

1. Following the developments in the COVID-19 situation, and the need to implement measures to ensure the safety of staff, practitioners, litigants and the visiting public, from Wednesday, 1 April 2020 the public facing counters in Supreme Court Civil Registry and Sheriff’s Office will be closed.

2. While the counters are closed, the registries will still be operating to provide services and support to practitioners, litigants and the wider community by telephone and email.

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Advice 2: Current Law Society NT Arrangements in response to COVID-19

The Law Society NT continues to closely monitor the developing COVID-19 situation with a view to ensure it takes all action required to protect the health and wellbeing of the profession, Society staff and anyone entering its premises. Set out below are the arrangements to be put in place by the Society as from Monday 30 March 2020.

Law Society NT Office

Please note that whilst the Society remains operational, as from Monday 30 March 2020, many of its staff will be working from home.

As a result, from Monday 30 March 2020, the Society’s office will be closed to visitors until further notice.

Throughout this period, the Society can still be contacted by telephone and email and will continue to undertake and offer all its operational functions. The closure of this office will mean that there will be no face-to-face events, CPDs or visitor contact. Physical deliveries may be received by prior arrangement if necessary.

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External examination (EE) reports

The Society acknowledges the impact that COVID-19 will have on law practices over the coming months. Many law practice offices may be closed as staff are encouraged to work from home in line with social-distancing requirements. It is understood that this is likely to present difficulties for practices in allowing their appointed external examiner the physical access required to highly confidential trust accounting records and related files often kept in law practice offices. These files often cannot be removed from offices and are necessary for external examiners to carry out the annual review required under the Legal Profession Act 2006.

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NT Local Court update 2

New notice to practitioners and Practice Direction issued

The documents below outline practices to commence Monday 30 March 2020 and have been put together to assist practitioners and public appearing before the Local Court in Stage 2 of COVID 19 restrictions. They will be made available on the Local Court website also.

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Statement from the Hon Will Alstergren

Parenting Orders and COVID-19

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) are acutely aware that the current pandemic is having an enormous impact on families and the Australian community.

Parents are naturally deeply concerned about the safety of their children and how the COVID-19 virus will affect their lives. Part of that concern in family law proceedings can extend to a parent’s or carer’s ability to comply with parenting orders and what should be properly expected of them by the Courts in these unprecedented times.

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Accessing super due to COVID-19 hardship

On 22 March 2020, the Federal Government announced it will temporarily allow eligible people to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation retirement savings in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

For eligible people suffering economic hardship, being able to access part of their super will help them provide for themselves and their families during these unprecedented times. At the same time, it is important to be aware of the longer-term financial implications of such a decision.

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Law Council of Australia media release

Time to think about contingency plans for your next AGM

23 March 2020

Companies planning their AGM or other General Meetings during the current pandemic, should be considering developing contingency plans, says the Law Council of Australia.

This follows the release of a guidance note, developed by the Law Council in partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia and the Australasian Investor Relations Association.

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Parliamentary Preview

Emergency legislation to Protect Territorians

24 March 2020

Parliamentary Sittings resume in Darwin today with debate focusing on emergency legislation to deal with the Northern Territory’s response to COVID-19.

The two pieces of legislation will strengthen the Northern Territory’s pandemic response from a health and fiscal standpoint.

The Emergency Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 amends the Public and Environmental Health Act 2011 to allow declarations of a public health emergency for a period of up to 90 days instead of the current five-day limit. The current limit was designed to cater for emergencies such as cyclones and floods.

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Office details

Office: 3/6 Lindsay St. Darwin NT 0800
Post: GPO Box 2388 Darwin NT 0801
ABN: 62 208 314 893


Please note that the Society does not offer legal advice.

A list of lawyers can be found here.

Telephone: (08) 8981 5104