In response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the NSW Local Court recently announced the deferral of all defended hearings for a further 3 months.

This means that all defended hearings which were listed between 23 March and 31 July 2020 have now been deferred.

The backlog as a result of these deferrals will be crippling, and will be felt well into 2021.

This information is current as at 19 April 2020 and should be read in conjunction with our earlier blogs.


I pleaded not guilty and my matter was listed for hearing. What happens now?

If your matter was listed for hearing between 23 March and 01 May you should have previously been notified by the Court that your hearing had been deferred and that your matter was listed for mention in early May.

This mention date has now been further delayed. Your matter will now be listed for mention in August 2020. You will not be required to appear in person on that date.

Defended hearings which were listed between 04 May and 31 July have now also been deferred. These matters will now be listed for mention in September 2020.  You will not be required to appear in person on that date.

We expect the Local Court to provide a further update in the coming months as to whether, when these matters are listed for mention, the Court is able to start reallocating hearing dates.


My family member or friend pleaded not guilty and is currently bail refused. What happens to their matter?

Unfortunately the above arrangements apply to all defended hearings, including those in which the defendant is in custody.  Matters involving a defendant in custody will, however, also remain listed for mention on the original hearing date to allow a bail application to be made, if appropriate.

Matters can also be listed on an earlier date for a bail application to be made.


My hearing date has been deferred. Can I apply to have my bail conditions relaxed?

If you are currently on bail and would like to vary your bail, you can apply for a review of your bail conditions. You might, for example, want to reduce your reporting requirement, or relax your curfew condition.

Any application to vary your bail needs to be made in writing to the Prosecutor and then communicated to the Court via email. The application must include the reasons the variation is sought.


If you have any concerns about the changes to NSW Local Court procedures or your upcoming matter, call us on (02) 9696 1361 to make an appointment to speak to one of our lawyers via phone, Zoom or FaceTime.