e-bulletin No. 105 - June 2020
On 20 March 2020, the President advised that, until further notice, in-person hearings would be held by exception and only on successful application to the President. That policy continues.
Commencing 12 June 2020 and until further notice, the following protocols will apply to any in-person hearings.
Any updates to these protocols will be communicated in future e-Bulletins.
Entry to the Commission and Requirements to Exit
- Persons attending the Commission must comply with these protocols and the reasonable requirements of the Commission’s Security Officers.
- No-one should attend or remain at the Commission if they suffer from any COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
- COVID -19 screening will be conducted by a Security Officer every time a person exits a lift on Level 21 - the screening procedure is set out on the last page of this protocol including:
(a) Persons giving their name and contact details.
(b) Temperature testing – entry will be declined if a person tests above 37.5 C.
(c) If a person satisfactorily passes the temperature test, the requirement to participate in a COVID-19 symptoms questionnaire. Entry will be declined if a person has one or more COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
(d) Access will be denied if temperature testing or questionnaire participation is refused.
(e) Enforcement of social distancing guidelines in the hearing room and outside the hearing room – that is; each person must be at least 1.5 metres apart.
(f) Entry into and out of the hearing room will be strictly controlled.
(g) Persons who pass the temperature test and the COVID-19 questionnaire, must ask staff for antiseptic wipes and clean their phone and bags before being granted entry.
Attendees Displaying Symptoms
- If any attendee at the Commission becomes ill or displays any symptoms of COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms (including fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell), they must immediately notify the Security Guard (and give their name and contact details) and leave the premises.
- The Commission proceedings will be adjourned and appropriate steps taken, including any deep cleaning required. The Commission will also alert appropriate authorities.
Hearing Rooms and Hearing Room Procedures
- No party is to enter the hearing room before their matter is called.
- No more than 8 people (including the Arbitrator and Security Guard) may be in the hearing room.
- All participants must sit in designated seats as indicated in the diagram on the door of the hearing room and in the seats marked in each hearing room (i.e. at least 1.5 to 2 metres apart).
- Appearances will not be required until the hearing commences, and then they should be provided from the bar table orally. Submissions may be made while seated so that sneeze guards are effective.
- Parties must not approach the bench and should not expect to be able to hand up documents.
- Parties shouldnot use hard copy documents at all.
- Oaths and Affirmations - physical copies of holy books will not be available.
- Parties must leave the Commission immediately after their hearing has concluded.
- Courtroom cleaning will occur as often as practicable between hearings and when the Commission is adjourned during the day.
- Each time a witness is excused, the area from which they gave evidence will be surface cleaned.
- Hearings will pause every 1.5 hours and the hearing room will closed for surface cleaning.
Kitchen and Photocopying Facilities
- Kitchen facilities will not be open, and food is not allowed in the Commission.
- Water and glasses will not be available - water bottles must not be left at the Commission.
- Photocopying facilities will notbe available.
Sanitiser and Related Items
- Sanitiser is available; however, it is recommended that participants bring their own sanitiser/wipes.
- Participants must wash their hands frequently, sanitise as frequently as required, cough and sneeze into their elbows/tissues, and carefully dispose of wrapped tissues in a waste basket.
The Protocols for In-person Hearings and Entry to Commission Premises can be found here.
Contact 1300 368 040 if you have any inquiries.
Judge Gerard Phillips