Magistrates Court of Western Australia

Public Notices

The following public notice is provided to all users of the Magistrates Court (including members of the public and the legal profession) on the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) and the measures that the Magistrates Court has put in place to mitigate the risks to court users.

Following the easing of restrictions by the WA Government (due to the continued low number of new COVID-19 cases) the Magistrates Court will begin the process of safely returning to normal Court operations.

This direction applies to court staff, legal practitioners, parties (to proceedings), parties (directly involved in a court matter), witnesses, media, contractors, and members of the public.

Persons in self-isolation

In line with the current health advice, the Magistrates Court has identified groups of persons who are required to self-isolate, and are directed not to enter the Court precincts (including courtrooms, hearing rooms and registries).

Persons in self- isolation are persons who:

  • have travelled and returned from overseas or interstate in the past 14 days; or
  • have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or
  • have a fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (IE – cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath); or
  • have a confirmed case of COVID-19 and are currently in quarantine.

Any person considered high risk and is in self- isolation should contact the Magistrates Court location that is dealing with the case to inform the Court that they are self-isolating, and to make an application to the Court to request orders to appear by alternative means.

For further information on whether you are considered a “high risk” individual, please refer to the Australian Government Department of Heath website.

Other persons

Gatherings that are necessary for the normal business of offices and other essential services are not bound by the physical distancing requirements. To avoid an outbreak of COVID-19, persons (other than those in self- isolation) should observe physical distancing and practice good personal hygiene while they are in the precincts of court.

While the Magistrates Court remains open to the public, the Court recommends that only legal practitioners, parties (directly involved in Court attendances), witnesses and media should attend court hearings. Other members of the public and support persons are requested not to attend and may be prevented from entering depending on the number of people present.

Where a non-participant, such as a support person wishes to attend, they should seek prior approval from the presiding judicial officer by emailing the relevant court location, at least 3 working days prior to the date. Where prior approval is not obtained, entry may be refused on the day by the Registry Manager or Registrar.

Safe hygiene rules

People who enter the building must comply with safe hygiene rules including:

  • Washing your hands on entry and exit to the Court precinct
  • Ensuring appropriate physical distancing
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the crook of your arm (not into your hands) and
  • Disposing of tissues in a bin, and washing your hands following the disposal of tissues.

Where a large number of people are listed in a particular court, directions may be given restricting the number of people in the Court precincts, and giving “not before times” to the parties. In addition, signs have been placed on the doors of each courtroom setting out the maximum capacity of people per court.

Alcohol- based hand sanitiser has been made available at the entrance to the Magistrates Court (with appropriate signage in place encouraging people to use the hand sanitiser).

The Magistrates Court also encourages court users to download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app, to ensure that all court users are kept safe, and users can be traced in the event of exposure to COVID-19.

At this point in time, Registry services will continue to operate as they usually do, however, all parties are encouraged to lodge documents electronically.

Where practical, all documents presented for lodgment in the Magistrates Court should be presented for lodgment electronically (using the Court’s Electronic Case Management System (“ECMS”). You may register for the ECMS on the eCourts Portal

Where the ECMS is not available then (in order of preference) documents should be presented for lodgment by:

  • Email to the Magistrates Court that is dealing with the case
  • Post
  • Facsimile to the Magistrates Court that is dealing with the case or
  • (Where available) placing documents in the secure drop box located at the Magistrates Court Registry.

Contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

The page limits prescribed in Rule 11(3) of the Magistrates Court (General) Rules 2005 for lodgment of documents by facsimile are suspended.

Court listings will return to normal effective from 2 June, 2020.

The Chief Magistrate has requested Judicial Officers to adopt a generous attitude when a party seeks to have a hearing adjourned due to self- isolation, or because a person falls into a high risk category.

Where a party does not wish to appear before the Magistrates Court in person (due to self- isolation or falling into a “high risk” category), they are encouraged to notify the Magistrates Court of their concerns in writing, and request to appear at the hearing by telephone link.

For the ease of the presiding judicial officer, it is also recommended that the party detail the matter number (IE – Prosecution Number, or Case Reference), their email address, and (direct) telephone number they wish to be called on at the hearing.

The contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Exchange of Paper Documents

Documents should not be handed up to the judicial officer in open court. Documents that need to be tendered in Court should be presented to the Magistrates Court electronically (using the eCourts Portal, email, or facsimile) or by registered post, in advance of the hearing or trial.

Unless specified below, the exchange of documents between the parties in Court, should be determined between the parties, without the involvement of the Court.

Where parties seek to send a document to the Court whilst it is sitting, the party is permitted to use their mobile telephone, tablet, or computer in the courtroom to email the document to the relevant Magistrates Court, and the judicial support officer will print or email the document for the Magistrate.

Where parties wish to receive a document from the Court whilst it is sitting (such as a transcript, or a late report), they are permitted to use their mobile telephone, tablet, or computer in the courtroom, and the judicial support officer will email the document to the party/ies.

The contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Civil Hearings (Other than Trials)

Unless otherwise ordered, physical attendance at all directions hearings, applications, and conferences is now encouraged.

Where orders are made excusing a party from attendance in the Court precinct, all directions hearings, applications, and conferences will be conducted using telephone, or video conferencing facilities.

Civil Trials

Civil matters that were listed for trial during April and May 2020 have been relisted.

Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer, the parties and counsel must physically appear at all civil trials. Where a party to the proceedings is in a category that would prevent attendance, an early application to adjourn is encouraged.

Civil matters do not relate to Restraining Orders, Extraordinary Driver’s Licences, or Protection and Care Matters.

Pre- Trial Conferences

Pre- Trial Conferences will continue as listed.

Subject to the views of the registrar, personal attendance is required at Pre- Trial Conferences.

Means Inquiry/ Default Inquiry Hearings

The Magistrates Court acknowledges that the current practices adopted by Court Users at Means Inquiries and Default Inquiries is to interview the Judgment Debtor before the matter is called in Court. To limit the interactions between parties at Means Inquiry and Default Inquiry hearings, Court Users are discouraged from adopting these current practices.

Attendance at Means Inquiry/ Default Inquiry

Means Inquiries and Default Inquiries will continue as listed.

Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer, personal attendance is required at Means and Default Inquiries.

Exchange of Paper Documents

Documents should not be handed up to the judicial officer in open court.

Documents that need to be tendered in Court must be presented to the Magistrates Court and to the Judgment Creditor electronically (using the eCourts Portal, email, or facsimile) or by registered post, at least 2 days in advance of the hearing. If the documentation is not lodged with the Magistrates Court within this timeframe, the Court will be unable to consider it at the hearing, and the matter may be adjourned to a different date.

Where parties seek to send a document to the Court whilst it is sitting, the party is permitted to use their mobile telephone, tablet, or computer in the courtroom to email the document to the relevant Magistrates Court, and the judicial support officer will print or email the document for the Magistrate.

Where parties wish to receive a document from the Court whilst it is sitting, they are permitted to use their mobile telephone, tablet, or computer in the courtroom, and the judicial support officer will email the document to the party/ies.

Listings of Enforcement Proceedings

The hearing of Enforcement proceedings will continue as listed.

Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer, personal attendance is required at Enforcement proceedings.

Residential Tenancy Hearings

The Court listings will continue to operate as listed.

Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer, personal attendance is required at Residential Tenancy hearings.

If you are a tenant requiring legal advice related to an upcoming Residential Tenancy sitting, please use the following contacts:

Tenancy WA on (08) 9221 0088 (Metropolitan) or 1800 621 888 (Country Free Call) or

Welfare Rights & Advocacy Service on 9328 1751 or

Family Violence Service on 1800 6000 476 (for information related to applications lodged under s17B or Division 2A of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA)).

If you are a landlord, you must contact the Consumer Protection division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety on 1300 304 054 for advice.

The Consumer Protection website also contains useful information for both landlords and tenants.

Criminal Hearings (Other than Trials)

The Court’s criminal sittings will continue to operate as listed.

Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer, personal attendance is required at criminal sittings.

Criminal Trials

Criminal trials before Magistrates will continue as listed.

Where a party to the proceedings is in a category that would prevent attendance, an early application to adjourn is encouraged.

Exchange of Criminal Records

Criminal records are to be emailed to the appropriate Magistrates Court registry by the Police Prosecutor. With the consent of the presiding Judicial Officer, the parties may agree that relevant prior convictions can be read into Court by the Prosecutor.

The contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Availability of Pre-Sentence Reports

The Magistrates Court will provide Pre-Sentence Reports electronically, on the condition that that the Prosecution and Defence provide a written undertaking to destroy any hard copy of the report, and delete any electronic copy of the report (following the hearing).

Where the Prosecution or Defence require a paper copy of the Pre-Sentence Report, a written undertaking must be provided to the court to destroy any hard copy of the report (following the hearing). There is no requirement to return the paper copy of the Pre-Sentence Report to the Magistrates Court.

The undertaking may be provided by contacting the relevant Magistrates Court as soon as possible before the hearing, to make arrangements in advance to obtain a copy of the Pre-Sentence Report and provide the Court with the written undertaking. Contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Please note Pre-Sentence Reports are not prepared by the court, and on occasion they may be unavailable until the day of court proceedings. The court cannot guarantee receipt of any Pre-Sentence Report prior to a scheduled hearing.

In March, 2020, referrals to the Drug Court ceased until further notice.

Effective from 12 May, 2020, the Magistrates Court resumed accepting applications into the Drug Court. The matters that are currently within the Drug Court will continue as listed. Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer, personal attendance is required at Drug Court hearings.

At this point in time, Restraining Order hearings will continue as listed. Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer and unless ordered otherwise, personal attendance is required at Restraining Order hearings.

In all circumstances, victims of family violence are encouraged to contact the Family Violence Service duty line on 1800 600 476, or via the Department of Justice website located here.

Initial Applications and Applications to Vary or Cancel Restraining Orders

Applications for restraining orders can be made at any Magistrates Court registry in person. Applications may also be lodged using the online restraining order application service. The service was introduced to make it possible for people seeking the protection of a restraining order to lodge their application without having to attend a Magistrates Court registry.

Applications made using the online restraining order application service must be lodged by an approved organisation. For further information on the online restraining order application service and approved organisations, please refer to the Victims of Crime website.

When an applicant is making the initial application to the Court and they’re self- isolating or otherwise directed not to enter the Court precincts parties are directed to present the restraining order application for lodgment by:

  • Email to their nearest Magistrates Court registry or
  • Facsimile to their nearest Magistrates Court registry.

You may access the relevant restraining order application from the Magistrates Court website. The contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can also be found on the Magistrates Court website.

The page limits prescribed in Rule 11(3) of the Magistrates Court (General) Rules 2005 for lodgment of documents by facsimile are suspended.

Where a party is trying to lodge a document other than the initial restraining order application, they may do so in accordance with the direction provided under the heading Lodgment of Documents in the Magistrates Court.

Affidavit in Support of Application

Where an applicant wishes to provide evidence by affidavit in support of their initial application under section 28(1) of the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA), the affidavit must comply with the ordinary signing requirements set out under Part 3 of the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005 (WA).

At this point in time, any affidavit lodged under section 28(1) of the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA) by who is self- isolating or otherwise directed not to enter the precincts of Court, does not require the maker of the affidavit to comply with the requirements of Part 3 of the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005 (WA). In these circumstances, the applicant is not required to:

  • Have the affidavit sworn or affirmed in the presence of an authorised witness or
  • Detail where and when the affidavit was sworn or affirmed.

All Applicants are strongly encouraged to make their application for an Extraordinary Drivers Licence electronically. Contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Subject to the views of the presiding judicial officer, personal attendance is required at Extraordinary Drivers Licence Application hearings.

Practice Direction 1/2008 sets out the timeframes required for service of witness summonses.

In an effort to mitigate the risks to Court Users and Magistrates Court employees arising out of COVID-19, the procedures for complying with witness summonses in the Magistrates Court have varied.

At this point in time, there is no departure to the timeliness of service of witness summonses, and the practice shall remain as the one set out by the Chief Magistrate in Practice Direction 1/2008. The Western Australia Police Force have notified the Magistrates Court that due to the pressures placed on their organisation by COVID-19, they will be unable to effect service of witness summonses within their usual service standards of 4 weeks, and instead, are expected to effect service of witness summonses in a 6 week period.

Court Users are reminded to be mindful of these timeframes when making their application for witness summons.

Criminal Witness Summonses

The operation of regulation 26(2) of the Criminal Procedure Regulations 2005 is temporarily suspended, and the Magistrates Court will accept the delivery of documents electronically where a summonsed person is required to produce a record or thing to the Court. The documents must be produced to the Court electronically (by the eCourts Portal, email, or by facsimile) before the hearing.

Where a party requires a physical or paper document for trial, the party should re-summons the witness using the prescribed form, and request that the documents be delivered by post or courier in accordance section 163 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2004.

Subject to the directions of the presiding judicial officer, where a summonsed person is required to attend court and provide oral evidence they must do so personally.. Where the summonsed person is seeking to appear by telephone, they are encouraged to notify the Magistrates Court and request to give evidence by video or telephone link. The parties (including the summonses person) are encouraged to confer with one another regarding the requirement of the witness to appear before the Court in person. Where the summonsed person is seeking an order to appear at the hearing by telephone link, they should contact the party (who lodged the witness summons) to notify them of their intention to appear by telephone link, and where appropriate, lodge consent orders with the Magistrates Court.

Where there is no consent between the parties, the application for telephone link must be in writing, addressed to the presiding Judicial Officer, and must be lodged electronically (by the eCourts Portal, email, or by facsimile) before the hearing. The contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Civil Witness Summonses

Any person summonsed to produce evidentiary material at a trial in accordance with Rule 71A(3) and (4) of the Magistrates Court (Civil Proceedings) Rules 2005 or Rule 39A(3) and (4) of the Magistrates Court (Minor Cases Procedure) Rules 2005 may do so by electronic means. The documents must be produced to the Court electronically (by the eCourts Portal, email, or by facsimile) before the hearing.

Subject to the directions of the presiding judicial officer, where a summonsed person is required to attend court and provide oral evidence they must do so personally. Where the summonsed person is seeking to appear by telephone, they are encouraged to notify the Magistrates Court and request to give evidence by video or telephone link. The parties are encouraged to confer with one another regarding the requirement of the witness to appear before the Court in person.

The application for telephone link must be in writing, addressed to the presiding Judicial Officer, and must be lodged electronically (by the eCourts Portal, email, or by facsimile) before the hearing.

Contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Inspection of Documents

Where a court user is seeking to inspect documents produced under subpoena or witness summons, the court user must contact the court as soon as possible to make arrangements in advance to avoid unnecessary attendances at the Magistrates Court.

Contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) for all Magistrates Court locations can be found on the Magistrates Court website.

Where it is practical to do so, employees of the Magistrates Court are directed to provide copies of documents to Court users electronically, where an application to inspect or obtain a copy of a Court record is raised under the Magistrates Court Act 2004 (section 33(3), (7), or (9)).Where the court user is seeking to inspect a large number of items, employees of the Magistrates Court are directed to use their discretion as to whether the request can be actioned by electronic measures, or whether the court user should attend the Magistrates Court.

Payments for lodgment of Court documents

To limit the spread of COVID-19, all payments required for the lodgment of documents must be made by credit or debit card from 23 March, 2020. The Court will generate an invoice, which can be paid via the eCourts Portal, or by returning the credit card authority.

An invoice can be paid through the eCourts Portal by clicking on the “Pay Invoice” tab at the following address: https://ecourts.justice.wa.gov.au/eCourtsPortal/. You are required to enter in the invoice number, which can be provided to you by the Court, complete a CAPTCHA test and click “Find Invoice”. Payment can be made through direct debit or entering in your credit card details.

Court Services: Aboriginal Liaison Officers

Aboriginal liaison officers are located at various courthouses throughout WA, and provide a critical link between the justice system, Aboriginal people, and the community. For further information on the services provided by Aboriginal Liaison Officers, please click here.

At this point in time, the services provided by Aboriginal Liaison Officers will continue to operate as usual. Due to COVID-19, additional measures are put in place to limit the personal interactions Aboriginal Liaison Officers have with Court Users, those being:

  • the provision of services by electronic means (including telephone calls and emails) to Court Users;
  • requiring the Court user to observe appropriate physical distancing (standing at least 1.5 meters away from the Aboriginal Liaison Officer) where face-to-face services are being provided; and
  • ensuring that Court Users entering the Magistrates Court must comply with safe hygiene rules including:
    • washing their hands on entry and exit to the Court precinct;
    • coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the crook of your arm (not into your hands); and
    • disposing of tissues in a bin, and washing your hands following the disposal.

Aboriginal Liaison Officers are based out of the Magistrates Courts at Perth, Albany, Broome, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, and South Hedland, and at the Perth Children’s Court. You may obtain the contact details (including email addresses and facsimile numbers) these Magistrates Court locations on the Magistrates Court website. Please click here if you wish to contact the Perth Children’s Court.

Helpful Contacts

Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited - 1800 019 900 (free call WA)

Community Legal Centres Association - (08) 9221 9322

Consumer Protection - 1300 304 054

Family Violence Service - 1800 6000 476

Legal Aid Western Australia - 1300 650 579

Perth Children's Court - (08) 9218 0100

Tenancy WA - (08) 9221 0088 (Metropolitan) or 1800 621 888 (Country Free Call)

Welfare Rights & Advocacy Service - (08) 9328 1751

The Magistrates Court is doing its best to strike a balance between keeping services available to the community and ensuring the health and safety of all Court users and employees of the Magistrates Court.

Due to the influx in the number of enquiries that are being raised with the Magistrates Court, additional pressure has been placed on our customer service staff. These additional pressures result in delays in responding to enquiries, and the current service standards may not apply.

Regular updates to this advice will be published on the Magistrates Court website and posted in the registries of the Magistrates Courts across Western Australia.


Last updated: 24-Jul-2020

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