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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update—Changes in accordance with the Practice Direction

Dear Practitioners

The Chief Magistrate of Queensland has this afternoon issued Practice Direction No.2 of 2020 Court Arrangements (COVID-19) which relates to all Magistrates Courts across Queensland. Arrangements are being put in place to respond to COVID-19 to ensure the spread of the infection is limited as far as possible and to continue to provide Court services to the Queensland community.

Local guidelines are being issued for 7 districts across Queensland. Guideline 1 of 2020 has been issued by Deputy Chief Magistrate Brassington for Brisbane Magistrates Court and Roma Street Arrest Court. Essentially the court wants as few personal appearances as possible to occur.

In accordance with the Practice Direction, and the duties that LAQ has under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, all duty lawyer services are to be delivered without there being face to face contact with duty lawyer clients. This applies to employees of LAQ and to contractors of LAQ such as preferred supplier law firms and community legal centres. Telephone and video-link alternatives are to be adopted in all duty lawyer services in the Magistrates Courts. This applies to criminal law, domestic and family violence and child protection matters.

We encourage local duty lawyer providers to engage with the local magistrates court, watch houses, other stakeholders and our regional offices where appropriate to establish mechanism to deliver services.

Current rosters and tenders for duty lawyer services will remain in place for all Magistrates Courts operating in Queensland. All services delivered under these arrangements are to occur without there being face to face contact with duty lawyer clients. Practitioners will be fully reimbursed for any services provided under current roster and tender arrangements in accordance with this new service delivery environment.

The health and safety of all Queenslanders is paramount in the current circumstances that we face.

This is an evolving situation that is likely to continue for some time. We will endeavour to keep you updated about the justice system’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and LAQ’s part in that response.

Yours sincerely,
Anthony Reilly
Chief Executive Officer

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