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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

Taking evidence across international borders

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia

Taking evidence across international borders will likely be subject to delays or restrictions in all Australian jurisdictions. The length of the delay will depend on the state or territory where the evidence will be taken.

To minimise delays, the Requesting Authority should provide the following information when sending a new evidence request to the Australian Central Authority:

  • contact name
  • phone number
  • email address

Taking evidence in Australia for foreign court proceedings

Victoria

Victorian authorities can still receive requests to take evidence. However, there may be delays in actioning these requests due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Contact the Supreme Court of Victoria to find out more.

Queensland

Requests to take evidence will still be actioned. However, Queensland anticipates delays in taking evidence. Courts are equipped to take evidence via telephone and, in some courtrooms, by audio-visual link.

Contact the Supreme Court of Queensland via the Queensland Courts portal to find out more.

New South Wales

Requests to take evidence will still be actioned. However, New South Wales anticipates delays in taking evidence. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, courts will generally only action urgent requests.

New South Wales can currently take evidence:

  • via audio-visual link
  • in a virtual court
  • in the form of an affidavit (in lieu of oral evidence)

Contact the Supreme Court of New South Wales to find out more.

Other jurisdictions

Contact the relevant Australian authority for information on taking evidence in:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Northern Territory
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Western Australia.

Taking evidence overseas for Australian proceedings

The length of delay in taking evidence overseas for Australian proceedings will depend on the country where the evidence will be taken.

For more information, contact the relevant overseas authority.

For a list of all countries party to the Hague Evidence Convention, visit the Hague Conference on Private International Law website.

For countries that are not party to the Hague Evidence Convention, contact the relevant foreign court directly.

Taking evidence in Australia for foreign court proceedings

The main way to take evidence in Australia for a foreign proceeding is through the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters 1970 (Hague Evidence Convention).

Australia has made several reservations and declarations regarding the Hague Evidence Convention. These are available on the Hague Evidence Convention status table.

Fact sheet – How to take evidence in Australia for foreign court proceedings

For practical information on the Hague Evidence Convention and other international agreements read our fact sheet:

Taking evidence overseas for Australian proceedings

The process for taking evidence overseas for an Australian court proceeding is governed by the rules and laws of the relevant Australian court, as provided below. This includes consideration of any declarations or reservations made by an overseas Contracting Party.

New South Wales

New South Wales Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005

Victoria

Victoria Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015

Queensland

Queensland Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999

South Australia

Uniform Civil Rules 2020

Western Australia

Western Australia Rules of Supreme Court 1971

Tasmania

Tasmania Supreme Court Rules 2000

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory Court Procedures Rules 2006

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Supreme Court Rules

Additional rules and laws in the relevant foreign country may also apply.

In complex cases, consider seeking advice from a local lawyer in the relevant foreign country.

Information about overseas jurisdictions

The country you are seeking to take evidence in will determine how evidence will be taken and how to transmit a request to take evidence.

Find out more about transmission methods in different countries:

Subpoenas

There is currently no uniform principle between federal, state and territory jurisdictions on what constitutes an Australian court document that can be served overseas.

Whether an Australian subpoena can be served overseas varies between Australia's jurisdictions.

In circumstances where a subpoena cannot be served overseas, it may be possible to obtain the required evidence using an evidence request.

For more information, contact the relevant Australian jurisdiction.