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Audio visual links

Parties to a proceeding and accused persons in custody may be able to appear via a video link for a court hearing. The arrangements for organising a video link, called an audio-visual link, will depend on the type of matter before the Magistrates’ Court. 

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See the find a court date section for AVL hearings dates and times. Children’s Court, intervention orders and suppressed matters are not listed.

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AVL requests should be made with the Magistrates’ Court at the earliest opportunity to avoid the unnecessary movement of accused persons in custody. 

Video conferencing is available for legal professionals to contact their clients in custody before AVL hearings. See the Corrections, Prisons and Parole website for more information.

A magistrate can direct an accused person to appear physically or via AVL depending on the matter.

The Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 presumes an accused person in custody will appear via AVL for matters such as: 

  • application for adjournment
  • application for
  • mentions
  • hearings
  • mentions
  • contest mentions
  • special mentions
  • sentencing hearings
  • contravention hearings
  • delivering of reserved decisions
  • applications under the Crimes Act 1958.

There are some matters not heard via AVL including:

  • an inquiry into the accused person’s fitness to plead
  • a hearing where the accused person is pleading not guilty
  • committal hearings
  • when the accused person is first brought before the court following arrest to be dealt with according to law – unless consents to appear via AVL is given.

Any application for how an accused person in custody appears, should be made to the presiding magistrate before the matter is adjourned.  Applications made after an adjournment will take longer than if an application was made in court.

AVLs are generally booked for 15 minutes, but can be booked for 30, 45 and 60-minute intervals. Preferred hearing times can also be requested if early notice is given. Preferred times can’t always be accommodated. You should contact the relevant Magistrates’ Court for an extension of time.

AVLs have scheduled finish times and every effort must be made to ensure the call is finished in time.

Request physical appearance

If an accused person has been ordered to appear via AVL, but a physical appearance is now sought, an application to the Magistrates’ Court can be made. To do this:

  • complete application for physical appearance - Form 45   
  • file the application at the at the Magistrates’ Court where the matter will be heard no less than three days prior to a hearing 
  • a copy of the application on the other party(s) involved in the matter 
  • a magistrate will make a decision in chambers, unless a party seeks to have the application heard in court. Both parties will be notified of the outcome.   

If the application is:

  • granted, the magistrate will issue a draft gaol order indicating the accused person is to appear in person 
  • refused, the parties will be notified of the outcome by the court.

Request appearance via AVL

If an accused person has been ordered to appear physically, but an appearance via AVL is now sought, an application to the Magistrates’ Court can be made. To do this: 

  • complete an application for appearance by audio visual link - Form 46
  • file the application, along with the gaol order, at the Magistrates’ Court where the matter will be heard at least 14 days before the hearing. 
  • serve a copy of the application on the other party(s) involved in the matter 
  • attend court on the hearing date. 

If the application is:

  • granted, Corrections Victoria will be notified
  • refused, the accused person will be required to appear physically. 

If the accused is in custody and further charged on , it is the responsibility of legal practitioners/informants to arrange for the issue of a gaol order to enable the appearance of the accused. A draft gaol order is required to be lodged by the relevant party in order to ensure this occurs. See Practice Direction 11 of 2016 - Applications Under s42L of the Justice Legislation (Evidence and other Acts) Amendment Act 2016 for more information.

Bail applications 

When a lawyer files an application for bail that is to be listed on a day other than the return date of the charges, the following process is to be followed: 

  • obtain a listing date from the relevant Magistrates’ Court and book in a bail application. See bail forms for more information.  
  • file the application, along with the draft gaol order, at the Magistrates’ Court where the matter will be heard to facilitate the accused’s appearance by AVL. 
  • if there is a request for the accused person to appear physically, an application under section 42L must accompany the bail application and be made to the Court. See request for physical appearance for more information. 
  • a magistrate will make a decision if the:
    • the accused person is to appear physically
    • the application for bail is to be heard via AVL.

Witnesses

The use of AVLs can have benefits if parties are in different locations. However, requests should provide a timely and efficient use of resources and aid in the progress or resolution of a matter. 

The party requesting an AVL is responsible for:

  • arranging an external site and supplier for the witness to give evidence. See the interstate court and third-party providers for witnesses information sheet for a list of suppliers. If the AVL is somewhere within Australia, it may be possible to book the AVL through another court.
  • notifying relevant parties about the AVL arrangements, including the start time
  • ensuring a bible or other religious book is available for the swearing-in process
  • payment of audio visual charges to the supplier and a booking fee – if applicable to the Magistrates’ Court. 
  • advising the Magistrates’ Court if a matter settles or circumstances change before the hearing.

To arrange an AVL, contact the Magistrates’ Court where the matter is listed at least two weeks before the hearing.  

When a date is confirmed, complete a witness video conference booking request form and file with the relevant Magistrates’ Court. 

A non-government agency booking fee of $82.50 may be required upon filing. A government agency booking will incur a fee of $16.50 which will be invoiced separately.  

Before the hearing, a test link should be conducted to ensure compatibility of equipment and facilities at all venues. A further test may be required a few hours before the hearing starts.

Participants are encouraged to be at the AVL site 15 minutes before the hearing begins. A will not start a hearing unless all parties are connected or present in the courtroom.

AVL costs

Line charges

All call charges billed per 15 minutes or part thereof. Only Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) calls incur a charge.  

Local $8.80 per hour
Within Victoria $89.10 per hour
Interstate $122.10 per hour
Overseas $242.00 per ¼ hour


Booking fees

Non-Government agency booking fee $82.50
Government Agency booking fee $16.50

Resources

Q. My client has co-accused, can they still be linked?

A.

Yes, matters where there are co accused will not prevent an AVL booking. 

Q. My client is in police custody, will they still be linked?

A.

If a prisoner is in police custody, they will be transported to a Magistrates’ Court despite any AVL direction. 

Q. Do I need to re-book an AVL if a matter has been adjourned part heard and it was already on an AVL?

A.

If a matter conducted via AVL is adjourned, a new application request for an AVL will need to be made. This is unless a magistrate has already directed an AVL on the remand order. Any application should be made in court.  

Related information

Last updated on 13 Dec 2018
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