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Practice Note No. SC Gen 12

REPLACED - Supreme Court - ecmCourt Protocol



    Supreme Court - ecmCourt Protocol


    1. This Practice Note commences on 22 March 2006.


    2. This Practice Note applies to:

      • matters in the Court of Criminal Appeal where either an Application for Extension of Time or a Notice of Appeal has been lodged; and
      • selected matters in the Equity Division.
    3. This Practice Note may be amended to extend the availability of ecmCourt to other matters.
      4. This Practice Note does not apply to proceedings involving self-represented litigants.


      5. In this Practice Note:

        CAR means the Criminal Appeal Rules 2005

        CPA means the Civil Procedure Act 2005

        ETA means the Electronic Transactions Act 2000

        Judicial Officer means Justice, Associate Justice and Registrar

        PDF means Portable Document Format, a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document.

        Registered user means a person who has applied for and received authorisation to use eServices. A registered user gains access to eServices by inputting a user identification code, that has been assigned to that user and that is unique to that user, and a password.

        UCPR means the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005

      Availability of ecmCourt

      6. ecmCourt is available to:

        • Legal practitioners who are registered users and are invited to participate by a Judicial Officer in accordance with UCPR 3.9,
        • Legal practitioners who are registered users and are invited to participate by the Court of Criminal Appeal Registrar in accordance with CAR 2G, and
        • Support Staff who are nominated by these legal practitioners to submit messages to the ecmCourt on the practitioner’s behalf.

      7. ecmCourt is not available to litigants, self-represented litigants or non-parties.

      Initiating an ecmCourt

      8. An ecmCourt may be initiated only by a Judicial Officer, the Associate of a Judicial Officer or nominated registry staff on behalf of a Judicial Officer.

      9. A legal practitioner who is a registered user may request that an ecmCourt be initiated by submitting an initial message (with or without an attached document). The request will be assigned to a Judicial Officer for determination.

      10. At the discretion of a Judicial Officer, an order may be made that any or all directions hearings for any case will be conducted via ecmCourt. If such an order is made, all legal practitioners involved must ensure that they are registered users.

      What may be dealt with in ecmCourt

      11. At the discretion of a Judicial Officer, ecmCourt may be used for any hearing permitted under S71 of the CPA and S141 of the ETA.

      Conduct in an ecmCourt

      12. As ecmCourt is a virtual courtroom, it must only be used for issues requiring consideration and determination by a Judicial Officer. ecmCourt is not to be used for communications solely between the representatives of parties.

      13. The language used in ecmCourt must be the same as that used if the matter were being dealt with in an ordinary courtroom. An ecmCourt is to commence with “Your Honour” or “Registrar” as appropriate and should end with “May it please the Court” and the name of the sender.

      14. If a message is posted in an ecmCourt by a user who is not a legal practitioner, then the name of the authorising legal practitioner must be included in the last part of the message.

      15. Undertakings given in an ecmCourt by a party’s representative either on behalf of the party or the representative, are binding as if the undertaking were given in an ordinary courtroom.

      16. The rules of contempt apply to proceedings conducted using ecmCourt.

      Terminating an ecmCourt

      17. An ecmCourt may be terminated at any time and the discussion listed for resolution by telephone or actual hearing at the absolute discretion of a Judicial Officer.

      User Identification Code and Password

      18. Each party or participant to the ecmCourt has their own unique User Identification Code (commonly known as a user-id) and password. It is important that these details are kept secure and remain confidential.

      19. When a user-id is used to send messages and documents to an ecmCourt, the person to whom that user-id was allocated will be deemed by the Judicial Officer presiding over the ecmCourt to be the person who sent the messages and documents and is responsible for their contents.

      ecmCourt Messages

      20. Messages posted in an ecmCourt and any attached documents must be:

        • relevant to the ecmCourt topic under discussion;
        • brief and to the point, and
        • timely.

      21. A Judicial Officer may, from time to time, give instructions as to:

        • the acceptable length of messages in an ecmCourt; and
        • the time and date by which messages must be received.


      22. Documents may be attached to messages sent to the ecmCourt. Documents cannot, however, be filed in the Court using the ecmCourt. Documents can only be filed in accordance with the Court Rules, including use of the Court’s eFiling system. In urgent matters, a document that is to be filed may be sent to the ecmCourt with an undertaking that it will be filed in the Court no later than the next business day.

      23. Where a message refers to a document that has been filed, a copy of the filed document may be attached to the message for ease of reference. In these cases the message should indicate the date on which the document was filed. Where a document has been eFiled under UCPR 3.4 or CAR 2C, the message should also indicate whether the document has been given final acceptance.

      24. Documents sent to the ecmCourt must be in PDF. The documents must not be scanned documents and they must not be locked as the Judicial Officer may wish to edit them.

      Consent orders

      25. Where the document sent to the ecmCourt is a draft consent order, the message to which the document is attached should contain a certification that all the parties have seen, and agreed to, the terms of the consent order.

      Entering orders

      26. Orders made by a Judicial Officer in an ecmCourt must be recorded and entered in the usual way.

      J J Spigelman AC

      Chief Justice of New South Wales

      Related information

      Practice Note SC Gen 12 was issued and commenced on 22 March 2006.

      See also:

      SC Gen 1 – Application of Practice Notes

      SC Gen 6 - Mediation

      Criminal Appeal Rules 2005

      Civil Procedure Act 2005

      Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005

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