Local court procedures are changing in an effort to reduce the number of people attending courthouses, including Port Macquarie.
The move is designed to mitigate the risk of infection from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes took effect from Monday.
As well, Port Macquarie Courthouse is to become one of seven regional centres across the state to hear centralised first appearance matters using audio visual links from police stations.
The other centres include Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth, Lismore, Newcastle and Wollongong. Metropolitan centres are Parramatta, Penrith, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Central.
Legal Aid NSW CEO Brendan Thomas described the changes to local court as "significant".
"The changes are extensive and will require us to significantly adjust our service models at various offices. We are currently working through how this will impact on services," Mr Thomas said.
"We are already advising our clients remotely, except in exceptional circumstances.
"I have assured staff that we are working hard with the chief magistrate's office to develop workable solutions in the local court, to provide a safe working environment and maintain good services for our clients."
A department of communities and justice spokesperson says visitors, in particular, have been asked to refrain from attending courthouses.
A raft of significant new measures are being introduced across local courts in NSW to reduce the number of people attending courthouses to mitigate the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic.Department of communities and justice
"A raft of significant new measures are being introduced across local courts in NSW to reduce the number of people attending courthouses to mitigate the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic," the spokesperson said.
"Where possible, all local court appearances by people in custody will be conducted via audio visual link technology.
"Visitors have been asked to stay away from courthouses and defendants will only attend court in person if absolutely necessary.
"Courthouses will also increase communication with relevant parties via email, phone or post so court users do not have to physically attend the registry."
The spokesperson said the order made by the state government to prohibit indoor gatherings of 100 or more people is subject to certain exclusions and does not apply to essential services such as courthouses and tribunals.
The chief magistrate Judge Graeme Henson has also moved to reduce the numbers of people attending courts.
The directions include a suspension of defended hearings - covering criminal, civil and special jurisdictions - with any listed between March 23 and May 1 to be vacated and listed for mention in the week from May 4, 2020.
Hearings where the defendant is in custody and listed from March 30 through to May 1 will also be vacated and will remain listed on the current date to allow for any application for bail review.
Prisoners will not be taken to a court, in a further attempt to reduce the risk of the virus being introduced to a vulnerable community within the correctional facility.
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