Fitted face coverings (masks) for users of the Land and Environment Court
8 January 2021
The Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021 has mandated the use of face masks in certain situations:
"5 Direction of Minister to wear fitted face coverings
(1) The Minister directs that a person must wear a fitted face covering at all times when the person is in an indoor area in any of the following premises, or parts of premises, in Greater Sydney—
(a) retail premises, or business premises, that provide goods or services to members of the public who attend the premises …..”
The Land and Environment Court has put the following procedures in place in response to the Public Health Order.
Masks must be worn in all public places, including the court registry, courtrooms and conference rooms (subject to the exceptions below), corridors and waiting areas within that part of the court building solely occupied by the Land and Environment Court unless one of the exemptions stated in the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021 applies.
Everyone in a courtroom or conference room must wear a mask, unless:
1) the person concerned is an active participant in the proceedings, namely the presiding judge, commissioner or registrar, a practitioner who is responsible for presenting the case in court or a witness giving evidence,
2) one of the exemptions stated in the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021 applies; or
3) at the discretion of the presiding officer.
The exemptions stated in the Public Health order are as follows:
1) People are not required to wear masks if they:
a) are children aged 12 or under
b) have a physical or mental illness, condition or disability that makes wearing a mask unsuitable, for example, a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma.
2) A person may remove a mask if they are:
a) eating or drinking
b) communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
c) at work and the nature of the work makes wearing a mask a risk to the person's, or another persons', health and safety, or means clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential
d) asked to remove their mask to confirm their identity.