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Important COVID-19 information
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Attorney-General’s Department: Find out how our services are being delivered and how you can access them. For the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from the Australian Government, visit Australia.gov.au

Courts and legal issues

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs and useful links

Going to court

Following developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia, Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have closed all public counters and face-to-face services. In urgent circumstances, face-to-face services may be provided after initial assessment via telephone. Find more information on the relevant court's website or using the following contact details:

  • High Court enquiries: call 02 6270 6811
  • Family Law enquiries: call 1300 352 000
  • General Federal law enquiries: call 1300 720 980

Following developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia, Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have each made arrangements for current proceedings before the Court.

For the latest information and updates, visit the relevant court's website:

State and territory courts have also published information and updates on their websites about their arrangements.

For information about the operations of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, visit the Administrative Appeals Tribunal website.

All federal courts, including the High Court, have published updated Practice Directions for the legal profession. Visit their websites to view:

Service of legal documents under the Hague Service Convention will likely be subject to delays. 

For service of foreign documents in Australia, the length of the delay will depend on the state or territory in which you are seeking to have documents served.

For service of Australian legal documents overseas, the length of the delay will depend on the country in which you are seeking to have documents served.

For more information contact pil@ag.gov.au or view the Serving a Legal Document Across International Borders page.

Seeking legal financial assistance (in certain circumstances)

Find general information about Commonwealth legal financial assistance that we administer,  including the relevant eligibility requirements, online.

Due to a high volume of enquiries, where possible email  finass@ag.gov.au with the details of your enquiry and your contact details.

If you don’t have access to email, call 1800 117 995 and leave a message with your name and a contact number. We will contact you as soon as possible.

Funding continues in accordance with the terms and conditions of your grant. If you are concerned about a grant that may expire in the next 3-6 months, or if there is a significant change or development in your legal matter, including any changes to your court hearing dates, email finass@ag.gov.au or call 1800 117 995.

For information on legal financial assistance relating to overseas child parental abduction, visit International child parental abduction.

Seeking legal assistance

Depending on where you live, you may be able to seek advice from:

The government funds legal aid commissions, community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services to provide legal assistance services to the public, in particular those who are financially disadvantaged or vulnerable.

Many legal assistance service providers have stopped face-to-face services to protect public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can still access legal assistance by phone or online.

For legal aid commission contact numbers and website information visit National Legal Aid.

For community legal centres visit the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

For a list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island legal services please visit the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program.

Many legal assistance service providers have stopped face-to-face services to protect public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can still access legal assistance by phone or online.

For legal aid commission contact numbers and website information visit National Legal Aid.

For community legal centres visit the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

For a list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island legal services please visit the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program.

Given the increase in demand for legal assistance services due to COVID-19, many services are experiencing a high number of phone calls and emails. While it may take longer than usual, make sure you leave a message and your enquiry will be dealt with.

If you or someone you know is in danger call emergency services on 000 immediately.

If you are experiencing or at risk of experiencing domestic violence, call the police and/or contact a domestic violence unit near you.

For further advice or information about domestic and family violence, 1800RESPECT is a free, national telephone service: call 1800 737 732.

Statutory declarations

You should ask the organisation or person asking you to provide the statutory declaration if you or your witness can temporarily sign the declaration electronically (including typing your name in the signature section), or give another form of evidence.

You should ask the organisation or person asking you to provide the statutory declaration if you can provide the statutory declaration without a witness temporarily, or provide another form of evidence.

The statutory declaration could temporarily be provided on the understanding that, if required, a witnessed version would be provided at a later stage once circumstances allow.

You should ask the organisation or person who asked for the statutory declaration if they will accept an electronic version of the statutory declaration.

Bankruptcy

Information about the supports and services available to help make financial decisions during these difficult times is available on the moneysmart website. This includes information about financial assistance and counselling.

The Australian Government has made temporary changes to bankruptcy laws to help Australians facing financial distress during COVID-19. The changes reduce the threat of people being forced into bankruptcy.

Visit the debt relief page on the Australian Financial Security Authority website to find out more.

If you are unable to pay your debts, visit the Australian Financial Security Authority website for information.

Fraud and scams

Visit Reporting fraud for more information about how to report fraud matters.

Report email, online and telephone scams (including scams from interstate or overseas) to SCAMwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

For further information about counter fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic, including what the government is doing and what your department or agency can do to safeguard the government’s COVID-19 response measures against fraud, visit the Counter fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic page.

Extradition and mutual assistance

For queries about current extradition matters email iccca@ag.gov.au.

For queries about current extradition litigation email LitigationUnit@ag.gov.au.

For queries about international transfer of prisoners email ITP@ag.gov.au.

Yes, we are still able to progress mutual assistance requests. For questions about specific mutual assistance matters, email the International Crime Cooperation Central Authority at iccca@ag.gov.au.

Visit Mutual Assistance for general information about the mutual assistance process.

Yes, we can still accept requests and will attend to them as soon as possible, but there may be delays. Email new requests to the International Crime Cooperation Central Authority at iccca@ag.gov.au.

Visit Mutual Assistance for general information about the mutual assistance process.

Commonwealth parole

Federal offenders are still being considered for parole according to their earliest dates of release.

Applications for early release of federal prisoners are being considered in accordance with normal procedures.

Given the current situation, the Commonwealth Parole Office will not accept applications for international travel from those who are currently on parole for a Commonwealth offence at this time, unless it is for exceptional circumstances.

For more information on how to apply for international travel visit the Parole page.