COVID-19: Service changes
Our offices will continue to offer advice appointments and remain open to the public. If you request an advice appointment, you will be asked a number of health-related questions to decide if it is safe for you, our staff and the community that you to attend in person, or whether a phone or video appointment is best.
The questions you will be asked include:
- Have you travelled and returned from overseas or interstate in the past 14 days?
- Have you been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
- Are you feeling unwell with symptoms such as a fever or an acute respiratory infection (for example – cough, sore throat, runny nose, or shortness of breath)?
- Are you in self-isolation (for example – you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results)?
If the answer to any of these questions is 'Yes', you may be offered a phone or video appointment instead of an in-person appointment.
Attending courts and hearings
There may be restrictions on who can enter court buildings and hearings, as well as requirements to observe social distancing. More information about any changes to court processes in WA is available on the website of each court:
- Magistrates Court of Western Australia
- District Court of Western Australia
- Supreme Court of Western Australia
- Children's Court of Western Australia
- Family Court of Western Australia
Duty lawyer services
Each duty lawyer service has its own process for providing assistance:
- Criminal Duty Lawyer Service
- Family Violence Restraining Order Duty Lawyer Service
- Family Court Duty Lawyer and Family Advocacy Support Service (FASS)
- Children’s Court (Protection) Service Duty Lawyer Service
The information below is only for the Perth and metropolitan Magistrates courts. If you live in a regional area, please contact your local Legal Aid WA office to find out how the duty lawyer service is being provided in your region.
The Criminal Duty Lawyer Service has resumed face-to-face services in the Magistrates Courts and Children's Courts in Perth and the metropolitan area.
If you are referred to the Duty Lawyer Service, you should:
- arrive at court early on the morning of your appearance
- bring any court documents and paperwork you received from Police, including the Statement of Material Facts. You should also bring anything else you want the duty lawyer to see or read
- tell the court orderly that you are at court, and
- write your name and court number on the whiteboard and wait to be called by the duty lawyer.
Legal Aid WA can provide legal assistance and representation in court for people who are eligible for assistance from the Domestic Violence Legal Unit (DVLU) Duty Lawyer Service. Please see the changes to the way the services will be conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you need to apply for an FVRO but are unwell or you need to self-isolate, you can telephone the Perth Magistrates Court on 9425 2222 and tell them about your situation. The court will give you directions on how your matters will be handled.
If you have a court date but are unwell or need to self-isolate due to recent travel, or contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or being in a listed exposure site, do not enter the court. Telephone the Perth Magistrates Court on 9425 2222 and tell them you need to self-isolate and follow the court’s directions.
If you require legal assistance about making an application for an FVRO or about a court hearing, please contact the Legal Aid WA Infoline on 1300 650 579.
You can now apply online for an FVRO through Legal Aid WA and other approved legal service providers. Find out more: Changes to applying for an FVRO
If you are well and do not need to self-isolate and would like assistance from the DVLU Duty Lawyer Service to apply for an FVRO at the Perth Magistrates Court, please follow these steps:
- Go to Legal Aid WA's DVLU office on level 5 at the Perth Magistrates Court. The office is located near the glass doors outside court 57.
- Please telephone 0437 883 789 and ask to speak with the DVLU (Duty Lawyer) paralegal. If you do not have a telephone, please go back to the ground floor and ask the Registry about using the public telephone.
- Our paralegal we will ask you some questions about yourself and your matter.
- If you are eligible, a duty lawyer will have an appointment with you by phone to provide you with legal advice. If you are ineligible due to the impacts of COVID-19, our paralegal will arrange for you to be called by the duty lawyer for legal advice. If you don't have a phone we will make alternative arrangements.
- The Duty Lawyer may then represent you in court, possibly by telephone.
These measures are to protect you and our staff, and to assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19 through the community. If you have concerns about attending court, do not hesitate to contact the court or DVLU prior to your attendance.
Legal Aid WA's Family Court Duty Lawyer and Family Advocacy Support Services continue to provide legal assistance and social support during COVID-19.
If you are coming to the Family Court in person, we will ask you a number of health-related screening questions before speaking with you face-to-face at court. If you are unwell, Legal Aid WA staff will be able to help you over the telephone. This applies at Perth and when the Family Court is sitting on regional circuits.
Family Court hearings and urgent matters
If you have a family law matter, but are unwell or need to self-isolate, telephone the Family Court on (08) 9224 8373 and tell them what you need help with. The court will give you directions on how your matter will be handled, which may include referring you to our Duty Lawyer Service or FASS for a telephone appointment.
If you have a court hearing but are unwell or need to self-isolate, please call the Family Court's Call Centre on (08) 9224 8222 to ask for procedural advice. Tell the court you need to self-isolate and follow the court’s directions.
More information about the court's COVID-19 measures is available from the Family Court of WA website.
The Children’s Court (Protection) Services has resumed in-person duty lawyer services at the Perth Children’s Court.
If you are referred to the duty lawyer for a child protection matter you should:
- arrive at court early on the morning of your appearance, and
- check in with the paralegal at the Children’s Court (Protection) Services Duty Lawyer Service . The office is open from 8.30 am.
- If you are unable to attend court in-person, please call the Children’s Court (Protection) Service on (08) 9218 0160.
More information about the court's COVID-19 measures can be found on the Children's Court website.
Reviewed:10 August 2021 12.15 pm