COVID-19 information (Updated 8/03/2022)

Media inquiries and protocols

TASCAT media guidelines – November 2021

Objectives:

The Tribunal’s objectives in engaging with the media are:

  1. To facilitate full and accurate reporting of what the Tribunal does;
  2. To take advantage of appropriate opportunities to further the community’s understanding of the Tribunal’s function and its work; and
  3. To foster awareness of legislation as to confidentiality, where applicable.

Open and closed hearings:

The Tribunal hears and determines a broad range of matters.

The majority of hearings before the Tribunal are open to the public (see Section 81(1) of the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2021).

However, there are some hearings which are not open. You can easily identify if a hearing is OPEN or CLOSED by looking at the listing sign and the small panel next to the hearing room door.

If a listing says CLOSED, it means the hearing is a private one and members of the public are not permitted to enter.

If a listing says OPEN, it means the hearing is open to the public and you may enter, but please do so quietly, minimising any disruption.

The following lists set out which hearings are open or closed.

Open hearings:

The following is a list of hearings that are open to the public.  Please note, that at any time during these proceedings, the Tribunal may close the hearing to the public.  You will be notified if the Tribunal is closing the hearing, and will be required to leave at that time.

Hearings of the Anti-Discrimination Stream, the Resource and Planning Stream, and the Forestry Practices Stream are open to the public.
(Section 81(1) of the TASCAT Act 2021)

Hearings of the Guardianship Stream are open to the public.
(Section 12(1) of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995) except as provided above.

Hearings of the Health Practitioners Stream are open to the public.
(see Section 30 of the Health Practitioners Tribunal Act 2010.)

Hearings of the Personal Compensation Stream with respect to Motor Accident Compensation matters are open to the public.
(see Section 12(7) of the Motor Accidents (Liabilities and Compensation) Act 1973 which refers to Section 13 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1995.)

If you aren’t sure if a hearing or conference is open to the public, please check with the Registry staff to confirm if the hearing is a public one.

Closed hearings:

All hearings of the Mental Health Stream are closed to the public.
(See Schedule 4, Part 2, Clause 9(1) of the Mental Health Act 2013.)

All hearings in the Personal Compensation Stream with respect to Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation and Asbestos Compensation are closed to the public.
(see Section 48 of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988; Section 138 of the Asbestos-Related Diseases (Occupational Exposure) Compensation Act 2011.)

Directions Conferences of the Anti-Discrimination Stream are closed to the public.
(See Section 80(5) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998.)

All Compulsory Conferences and ADR (Mediation and Conciliation) Conferences are closed to the public.
(See Sections 100(2) and 102(6) of the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2021; and Section 48 of the Worker’s Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988; Section 75(5) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998.)

Media enquiries

Members of the media are welcome to contact the Principal Registrar of the Tribunal at any time:

tascat@tascat.tas.gov.au

1800 657 500 during business hours.

Information disclosure:

Some matters that are heard by the Tribunal are protected by legislation to ensure confidentiality.  Those matters are often in the Mental Health Stream or Guardianship Stream (for examples, see Section 123 of the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2021; Sections 133 and 134 of the Mental Health Act 2013; Section 86 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995).

Before disclosing information, you should ensure you have considered whether that disclosure of information is protected under legislation and may be an offence.

The Tribunal will also determine what information it can disclose based on any protections under legislation such as those listed above.

Information that may usually be disclosed to the media for matters that are heard in an open hearing includes: the broad nature of the proceedings; the title of proceedings; the names of the parties; the stage a hearing has reached; and when hearings have been scheduled.

Section 110 of the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2021, sets out the categories of information that a member of the public may make an application to obtain.

Please note, the Tribunal will only provide copies of its audio recording of proceedings to the parties to the proceedings upon request. It is provided only for the purposes of assisting parties in the conduct of their case or in the exercise of appeal rights. Parties are directed that audio recordings of proceedings are not to be published, distributed or altered in any way.

Film, video and audio restrictions

Audio or video broadcasting

The Tribunal, pursuant to the Court Security Act 2017, does not permit broadcast by video or audio at any stage in any hearing.  Video or audio recording is not permitted in any of the public spaces within the Tribunal premises such as the reception area.

Photographing and filming by media outside the Tribunal.

The Tribunal has adopted the following principles in relation to filming and photographing in the vicinity of the Tribunal buildings:

  1. Parties and others involved in court proceedings are entitled to enter and leave the Tribunal building without being, or feeling they are being, harassed or intimidated.
  2. Media are entitled to film and photograph people in public places in the course of reporting on tribunal proceedings.

The Tribunal requests that all persons adhere to these principles.

Reporting from the Tribunal

The Court Security Act 2017 has expanded the means by which journalists are able to report from a Court by allowing the use of electronic equipment. This is applicable to the Tribunal as per the section 3 definition of court in the Court Security Act 2017.

Section 11 of the Court Security Act 2017 Section 11 prohibits the use of electronic and recording devices in ‘principal court premises’ but this does not apply to journalists as per the definition of ‘journalist’ in section 3. Section 3 of the Court Security Act 2017 defines journalist as:

Journalist means a person who –

  1. is engaged in the profession or practice of reporting, photographing, editing or recording for a media report of a news, current affairs, information or documentary nature; and
  2. is paid to perform that profession or practice by a person, or body, that –
    1. is subject to a code of ethics and a procedure for the Australian Press Council, or for another person or body that is prescribed, to deal with complaints about persons engaging in such a profession or practice; or
    2. is the holder of a licence under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 of the Commonwealth;

Accredited Journalists

The Tribunal requests that journalists who wish to attend the Tribunal premises to report on open hearings become accredited.

This will assist security staff and members of the Tribunal to identify if you are a journalist and permitted to use electronic devices in a hearing room.  If you are a journalist from a news media organisation you are eligible for accreditation. The Tribunal has adopted a simple accreditation process. Accreditation will be documented by a form signed by the journalist, returned to and reviewed by the Tribunal. Accreditation requires acknowledgement that the journalist has an understanding of Tribunal proceedings, legislative requirements and the procedures and policies as set out in this document.

Accredited journalists can use personal iPads, tablets, laptop computers, digital assistants and mobile phones capable of transmitting emails, for electronic note-taking, messaging by text, and filing stories, so long as that does not interfere with the proceedings. Accredited journalists will be given identification tags to wear during Tribunal proceedings to enable Members and Registry staff to easily identify journalists.

Journalists using electronic equipment in the Tribunal

Any electronic recording (audio and video) of any Tribunal proceedings is prohibited.

Subject to any restrictions by the Presiding Member, journalists (as defined by the Court Security Act 2017) may use an electronic device or a recording device in court for electronic note-taking, messaging by text and filing stories, so long as that use does not generate sound, involve speech or interfere with the proceedings, with the tribunal recording system or other technology and does not impede the administration of justice.

Accredited journalists may use electronic equipment for the publication of material on the internet (blogging, tweeting and similar). Blogging which allows public comment is not permitted.

Journalists reporting from the Tribunal must ensure that any publication does not contravene any applicable legislation (see sections cited above under Information Disclosure), does not otherwise prejudice the hearing or any related hearing.

Non-accredited journalists, freelance writers, and members of the public are not permitted to use electronic equipment for the publication of material in the Tribunal.

Updated: 8th November 2021