Coronavirus update

31 March 2020

The County Court of Victoria is closely following federal and state government advice regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and you are required to attend court soon for any County Court matter statewide, please notify the Registry by calling one of the following numbers as soon as possible to discuss the options available to you:

Registry operations

The Registry continues to be operational and we are working in our Registry to provide services to support practitioners and litigants.

From 31 March 2020 face-to-face services will be limited and will only be available in urgent circumstances after an initial assessment by telephone.

The Registry seeks the cooperation of all court users to minimise in-person attendance.

Before attending the Registry, please telephone to discuss alternatives to in-person attendance. The Registry can be contacted on 8636 6508.

When deciding how best to provide our services and support, the interests of court users and our staff have been foremost in our mind.

Electronic filing of documents

Electronic filing of documents has been the accepted manner of lodging documents for filing with the Court for many years. Parties are requested to maximise the use of the Court’s electronic filing facilities, eFiling (Civil) and eLodgment (Criminal and Appeal) at this time.

To enable the electronic filing of documents during the COVID-19 situation, if access to scanning technology is limited, the Court will temporarily allow documents to be signed electronically, including by having the person signing the document type their name in the relevant space in the signature block in lieu of physically signing the relevant document. We will continue to review how we provide services and support and keep you up to date.

Witnessing affidavits and certifying documents

Current measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19 may result in difficulties having affidavits sworn or affirmed. Given this, the Registrar will accept the filing of an affidavit which has not been sworn or affirmed, provided that a sworn or affirmed version is filed as soon as practicable. Please ensure that the affidavit is signed by the deponent and that a paragraph is included in the body of the affidavit stating that it cannot be sworn or affirmed at this stage due to measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

To minimise in-person contact and attendance at the Court, Deputy Registrars will only witness urgent affidavits and certify urgent documents. Please make an appointment time with the Registry before you attend on 8636 6508. A member of the Registry team will assess and determine the urgency of your request.

Service of documents

Due to concerns around personal service of documents during COVID-19 parties may seek to rely on the provisions of Rule 6.11 of the County Court Civil Procedure Rules. If the parties have agreed to service of documents by other than personal service Rule 6.11 would apply to deem service effective. If parties cannot make such alternative arrangements by consent an application for substituted service must be made. This should be done via email to the:

Subpoenas

Electronic submission and inspection of subpoenaed material has temporarily been allowed in order to minimise physical contact. More information on this process, including how to submit and inspect, can be found on the Subpoenas webpage.

The appointment times to view subpoenaed material has changed and will now be 9.30am and 11am. Parties should only request an appointment for urgent matters. Any concerns regarding the ability to comply with subpoenas should be directed to the issuing party. The Court will continue to update any advice and information as we receive it.

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Page last updated: 7 July 2020