The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria has issued a statement today on behalf of the Victorian Courts and VCAT to indicate that judicial officers and court and tribunal staff are not subject to the authorised workers vaccination mandates under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
This raises the question as to why other workers in the State of Victoria are not afforded the same rights and privileges as those that form the judiciary? Why are members of the courts able to engage in a “process of consultation” while everyday working class Victorians are threatened with losing their livelihoods overnight?
The statement is below (link is included)
The following update is from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria and Chair of Courts Council, Anne Ferguson, on behalf of the Victorian Courts and VCAT.
Friday, 8 October 2021
The health and safety of all court and tribunal participants is of the highest priority.
Directions made last night under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 in relation to vaccination of authorised workers do not extend to judicial officers and court and tribunal staff.
Nevertheless, internal inquiries have already shown that they have extremely high levels of vaccination.
Court Services Victoria (CSV), as the employer of court staff, is considering measures that will require staff who attend onsite to be vaccinated on the same basis as other authorised workers in Victoria. These will be subject to a process of consultation with staff.
For all practical purposes, the Courts and VCAT will be in a similar position to other essential service providers in Victoria.
Each jurisdiction will continue to minimise the number of people physically attending our premises by conducting a large proportion of matters as remote hearings. When the lockdown lifts the Courts and VCAT will continue to operate through a mixture of remote and in person hearings.
The Courts and VCAT encourage all those attending our locations to be vaccinated. There are specific provisions in the directions regarding legal practitioners and people who work in connection with court proceedings. The application of these will need to be worked through by the profession and relevant agencies.
Each jurisdiction will provide information regarding their operations as that date approaches.
Public health measures are in place across the Courts and VCAT including:
Entry screening measures for individuals who may be symptomatic or required to isolate
QR code check in
Physical distancing and density limits
Mask wearing in accordance with directions
Hygiene measures including hand sanitation and regular touch point cleaning
Minimising the handling of common objects
Further measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 will be explored as they become available.
Please check the websites of each jurisdiction for jurisdiction-specific changes.