Because of social distancing, personal attendance in court for an accused and their legal representative is in issue. The Magistrate Courts seem to have left it to the legal profession to determine whether lawyers appear in court in person or by audio/visual link.
The risk of coming into contact with the Coronavirus is obviously higher for lawyers going to court every day of the week than an accused who may have to appear in person on any one day in the month. In most cases an accused is required to appear in person (to answer bail) unless exempted on medical or other grounds agreed by the court well in advance of the listing date.
The manner in which an accused and or their lawyer attends court is therefore to be considered on a case-by-case basis. A major factor to be considered is the health of both the accused and lawyer. Clients in other State or Territory jurisdictions is another.
Criminal lawyers must open communication with clients and the courts
For this reason, lawyers must adopt a rigorous line of communication with clients and the courts to ensure that appearance requirements are met without unnecessarily exposing the lawyer and the client and court users to infection. This increased attention to individual client matters will come at cost to clients.
Lawyers may want to consider a downward revision of client telephone attendance costs for those calls over and above what would be reasonable client-lawyer practice.
If you need legal advice or are facing a criminal law matter, then please contact us at any time. Initial phone advice is free.