What to do if you are involved in a court matter and are affected by bushfires

17 Jan 2020

The current bushfire crisis may impact people involved in Court or Tribunal proceedings. Some of the impacts may include:

  • Loss of documents
  • Not being able to attend a hearing
  • The court building may be closed
  • You may not be able to comply with court orders in time.

If you are represented by a lawyer, it is important to let your lawyer know what is happening as soon as possible. So they can let you know about your options and any implication for your legal matter.

If you are representing yourself in legal proceedings and are impacted by bushfires, see below for some useful information.

  1. If you have lost or cannot access court documents due to bushfire
    Courts and tribunals can provide replacement documents. Some are offering free replacement. You can contact the relevant Registry to ask for replacements if you have lost documents or cannot access them.
  2. If you have a hearing in a court building in a bushfire zone
    If you have a court date coming up and the building where your matter will be heard is in a bushfire zone, it is important to check with the court ahead of time if the hearing will go ahead, or if it has been moved to another court building.
  3. Communicating your circumstances with the Judge and other parties
    If you are impacted by fires and currently involved in a civil law proceeding, it is important to inform the Judge and other parties in your proceedings of your circumstances. Remember that any communication with the Judge’s chambers or registries should include the other parties in your matter.


Information from Courts and Tribunals on bushfires

Courts and Tribunals are responding to the bushfire crisis. It’s best to contact the correct Court or Tribunal directly to discuss your unique circumstances.

Victorian Courts

Supreme Court

If you are involved in Supreme Court proceedings currently and are impacted by bushfires, please contact the Supreme Court Registry to discuss your circumstances.

Contact the Supreme Court
County Court of Victoria

If you are involved in County Court proceedings currently and are impacted by bushfires, please contact the County Court Registry to discuss your circumstances.

Contact the County Court
Magistrates’ Court

Bushfires are impacting court operations in the east and north east of Victoria. If you live in an impacted area, go to your local court’s contact page for more information.

Find your Court
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

If you can’t attend your VCAT hearing or meet legal requirements in a VCAT case due to bushfires, please contact VCAT on 1300 01 8228 to discuss your circumstances.

Bushfire crisis information


New South Wales Courts

Justice NSW recommends calling the Courts Service Centre on 1300 679 272 if you cannot attend court because of bushfire risk. You can follow the NSW Justice Twitter account for up to date information on Court closures.



Federal Courts

Federal Circuit Court and Family Court

If your documents have been destroyed as a result of a recent bushfire, you can use this form to request free replacements.

See form for replacement documents
Federal Court of Australia

If you have been affected by bushfires and need assistance in relation to a current or future matter before the Court, support from the Court is available.

Find information from the Federal Court