District Court

​COVID-19 (coronavirus)

We have made changes to the way that our District Courts operate to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We will continue to update this page with the latest changes to District Court operations.

Our priority is the health of all court users. You do not need to attend the District Court unless you:

  • are a party essential to proceedings and no other arrangements are in place to conduct proceedings remotely
  • are a bona fide representative of an established news-media organisation.
  • have received a summons to attend court for jury service. For information about jury service and jury trials, read the section below for Jury trials.

Do not attend court if you:

  • have travelled overseas in the past 14 days
  • have had close contact with someone who has been confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19
  • feel unwell and are experiencing any of the following symptoms – fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell.

All persons at all times must comply with social distancing and latest health advice.

If a person who has been attending court develops a sign of illness, they should immediately report this to the court.

District Court updates

Important information about changes to District Court operations is contained in the following notices and announcements:

Before attending a court please read the important information below about operations at the District Court and contact details.






Attend court virtually

From Monday 30 March 2020 – 1 June 2020 the District Court will continue to limit in-person appearances by way of the AVL system (Virtual Courtroom).

Legal practitioners who are appearing by using the Virtual Courtroom are expected to familiarise themselves with the Virtual Courtroom User Guide.

For more information about the use of the Virtual Courtroom appearances please contact your legal representative.

Physical distancing measures in court

Some in-person appearances will be permitted from 1 June 2020 however, the use of the Virtual Courtroom is still available and encouraged where appropriate. More information about permitted personal appearances in the District Court criminal and civil jurisdictions is set out below and in the District Court procedural update about personal appearances dated 18 May 2020.

The general policy of the court is to limit personal appearances where possible. Where personal appearances will occur from 1 June 2020, the number of persons in a courtroom should not exceed 10 persons.

Where it is in the interests of justice that there be more than 10 persons, the courtroom must not exceed the maximum court capacity as determined by the Sheriff of NSW (based on the principles of 4m² spacing per person and 1.5m spacing between people).

If you are representing yourself

If you are representing yourself and require more information about your matter contact the Courts Service Centre before attending the District Court. You can send an email to nswcsc@justice.nsw.gov.au or call between 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays on 1300 679 272.

Jury trials

The District Court intends to lift the temporary suspension of jury trials in limited District Court venues on and from 15 June 2020.

Additional information is available in the District Court COVID-19 Jury Trials General Protocol and District Court announcement regarding jury trials – 11 May 2020.

The wellbeing of jurors and court users is important and social distancing is being practiced in accordance with health advice provided to the Sheriff of NSW.

Measures are in place to protect public health and reduce risks associated with COVID-19. More information is available in the factsheet Ensuring juror safety during COVID-19.

For all queries about jury duty, contact the juror information line on 1300 780 199 or visit www.juror.nsw.gov.au

Personal appearances in the District Court (Criminal)

On and from 1 June 2020, in-person appearances will be permitted in:

  • Appeals from the Local Court
  • Matters for Sentence
  • Judge alone trials
  • Pre-trial argument
  • Pre-recorded evidence hearings pursuant to Chapter 7 Part 5 Division 2 or Schedule 2 Part 29 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986
  • Contested applications for bail or contested changes in bail conditions.

Where the policy permits a personal appearance this does not create an obligation for lawyers to attend in person. The court continues to encourage the use of the virtual courtroom.

In proceedings where practitioners attend in-person, consideration ought to be given as to whether other participants in the proceedings may attend via remote means. Further information is available in the procedural update, personal appearance in the District Court from 1 June 2020.

Defendants in custody

The Court will continue to hear, consistent with health advice, all criminal matters where the defendant is in custody.

Practitioners are encouraged to notify the Court of:

  1. Sentence hearings requiring priority, particularly those defendants whose time on remand is approaching the period likely to be served on sentence.
  2. Local Court appeals where the appellant has been sentenced to a full-time custodial sentence.

The Court may prioritise a hearing if the prosecution and defendant are ready for an earlier hearing date. Hearings can be conducted by use of a Virtual Courtroom.

Defendants not in custody

The physical appearance for defendants not in custody is not required for dates for trial or sentence. Self-represented defendants should make arrangements to appear remotely for these hearings and the defendant’s bail will be continued.

Additional information is available in the procedural changes issued on the 20th April 2020.

Present bail orders continue for any matters that are temporarily suspended.

If you have questions, contact the Courts Service Centre before attending the District Court. You can send an email to nswcsc@justice.nsw.gov.au or call between 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays on 1300 679 272.

Personal appearances in the District Court (Civil)

The Court’s general policy of civil matters being heard by the use of a virtual court room is being eased for contested hearings. It will be subject to the discretion of the presiding Judge to limit the number of persons in a court room to ensure strict adherence with social distancing restrictions.

The use of a virtual courtroom is still available and parties must notify the Manager, Civil Case Management and Listings by email at least seven days prior to the date fixed for hearing.

Further details are available in the procedural update, personal appearances in the District Court from 1 June 2020.

Re-Listing of proceedings that have been temporarily suspended

Proceedings which have been temporarily suspended in accordance with previous procedure will be re-listed for mention on a new date after 4 May 2020.

If a matter is unable to proceed with satisfactory arrangements for an accused not in custody, the legal representative and prosecutor will appear on the date fixed for hearing to obtain a new hearing date

If a defendant who is not in custody is self-represented and is unable to make satisfactory arrangements to appear remotely, the matter will be re-listed for mention in June 2020.

If you are a defendant or a party in a matter which has been temporarily suspended, you will be notified by the Registrar of the District Court of the new date.

Applications to vary bail

If you want to submit an application to vary bail arrangements, do not attend the court in person.

All applications to vary bail will be dealt with by a judge in chambers from 1 April 2020. Personal appearances are not permitted.

For more information, read the Bail Application Procedures.

Questions about court attendance

If you are unable to attend court, or if you are unsure, please contact the Courts Service Centre via email to nswcsc@justice.nsw.gov.au or call between 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays on 1300 679 272.