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27 November 2023


The following are the arrangements for Northern Territory Local Court listing practices in Alice Springs and Southern Circuit Courts, following the limitation of legal aid services.  This notice will commence from 28 November 2023.

Preparation of all Court matters
Main List - Court Two
Hearings Court
Directions Hearings - Tuesday at 10am and 2pm
PEM Lists - Thursday at 10am
Part Heard Matters, Breaches and Continued Bail Applications
Circuit Courts for November/December 2023

Preparation of all Court matters
a) The Court officer allocated to each courtroom will callover all matters in the foyer prior to Court commencing.  The Court officer will advise parties present which Court room they will be required to attend, and advise them where to wait, as well as invite them to be seated in the Court at the commencement of proceedings.
b) Court staff will liaise with the Interpreter service if parties need assistance with language.
Main List – Court Two
a) Will commence at 9.30am each day.  Future bails, summons, notices to appear and warrants should commence being listed for 9.30am.
b) If a defendant does not wish to enter a plea of guilty at the first mention, or receive a sentencing indication, their matter will be adjourned to the next available Directions Hearing list.
c) If a bail application is also listed or adjourned, a Directions Hearing date will still be set in addition to the bail date
d. Lawyers who are representing parties shall provide the Court Officer in Court 2 with the written readiness slip, available on the bar table and in the Courtroom, indicating the matters they are appearing on, and what will occur on the matter.
e) Once another Court has finished their allocated list or duties, the Judge will be available to take matters from the main court.  The Court staff member allocated to the Judge’s Court will liaise with the Court Officer in Court 2 and transfer files to their Court.  This could be on a Counsel basis, e.g., all one Counsel’s files, or non-appearance files, or a number of unrepresented matters.  These files will be transferred to the available Court whether they are noted as ready to proceed or not.
Hearings Court
a) Will commence at 9.30am each day there are listed hearings.  This will be a callover at 9.30am to ascertain which matters are proceeding to hearing.  All hearings will be mentioned in the one court.  Counsel for Prosecution and Defence are expected to appear on their matter in the hearing callover.  Failing to appear could result in the hearing being vacated.  If proceeding, hearings will be allocated according to priority, with custody matters taking precedence.

Directions Hearings – Tuesdays at 10am and 2pm
a) Unrepresented matters will be adjourned to a directions hearing at 10am.  Unrepresented defendants in custody will appear via video from the prison.
b) Represented matters will be adjourned to a directions hearing at 2pm.  Represented defendants will be excused from appearing.
c) No more than 40 matters will be listed at 10am, and no more than 40 matters will be listed at 2pm.
d) If a plea is not indicated at the first directions hearing a hearing date will be allocated.  For defendants with multiple files, hearing dates will be set for the contested matters and a plea date for uncontested matters will be allocated as soon as practicable.

PEM Lists – Thursdays at 10am
a) All preliminary examinations on the papers (PEP’s) will be heard in the PEM list.
b) Represented Defendants in custody will be excused unless the matter will be proceeding as a preliminary examination, when they will appear by video.
Part Heard Matters, Breaches and Continued Bail Applications
a) Will be adjourned to 9.30am before the relevant Judge at a date suitable to the Court.  This will usually be on a day that the Judge is either in the main list, or is in a list court due to commence at 10am (such as Directions Hearings or PEM list).  No more than 2 or 3 matters should be adjourned to 9.30am before a Judge if they are allocated a further list for the day.

Circuit Courts for November/December 2023
a) Mutitjulu Court will sit for one day only on 28 November 2023.
b) Ntaria/Hermannsburg Court will be cancelled on 4 December.  All matters will be adjourned until the next sittings in January 2024.  All bail conditions will be continued.  A callover of any matters listed for hearing will be held in Alice Springs prior to the next sittings to determine if a further hearing date is required.
c) Yuendumu/Papunya Court will proceed as listed.
d) Tennant Creek sittings will proceed as listed.

Elizabeth Morris   
Chief Judge