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Courts and legal issues

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs and useful links

Going to court

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia have each updated their service delivery.

To find out how key services are being delivered and how you can access them, visit the relevant court’s website:

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

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

Temporary changes are in place to allow a Commonwealth statutory declaration form to be witnessed using audio visual technology. These changes will apply until 31 December 2022. Find out more information about how to witness statutory declarations using audio visual technology.

A form witnessed this way must also include the authorised witness' phone number or email, and a statement specifying that it was made in accordance with the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Modifications – Statutory Declarations and Notices of Intention to Marry) Determination 2021. To ensure the declaration meets these requirements, we recommend using the Commonwealth Statutory Declaration for electronic execution form.

Temporary changes are in place to allow a Commonwealth statutory declaration form to be signed electronically. These changes will apply until 31 December 2022. Find out how to complete a statutory declaration form.

A form signed this way must also include the authorised witness' phone number or email, and a statement specifying that it was made in accordance with the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Modifications – Statutory Declarations and Notices of Intention to Marry) Determination 2021. To ensure the declaration meets these requirements, we recommend using the Commonwealth Statutory Declaration for electronic execution form.

Bankruptcy

Information about support and services to help make financial decisions is available on the moneysmart website. This includes information about financial assistance and counselling.

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.