Former foreign affairs minister, Gareth Evans,ï¿½onceï¿½describedï¿½Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as 'four adjectives in search of a noun'. The Economic Leaders Meeting in Sydney on 8-9 September has been billed as 'the most important international meeting Australia has ever hosted'. Either way, the conference will have an impact upon the workings of the legal profession. The Bar Association, through regular In Brief articles, has sought to keep members informed of security and court arrangements. The following is a summary of those reports and identifies key sources of information.
1. The Bar Association
The Bar Association will be closed during the public holiday on Friday, 7 September 2007.ï¿½
2. Ground zero: the APEC venues
The APEC Economic Leaders Meetings will be held on Saturday, 8 September at the Opera House and Sunday, 9 September at Government House.
The immediate surrounds of both venues, including a portion of the Royal Botanic Gardens, form the Restricted Zone, and will be closed to the public from 6am on Friday, 7 September through 11pm on Sunday, 9 September 2007.
3. Identification and access to chambersï¿½
The Queens Square legal precinct will not form part of the Restricted Zone.
However, there is a foreseeable possibility thatï¿½additional restrictions may apply in response to protests or other events.ï¿½Further, members can expect the NSW Police will have a strong presence in the city throughout the conference.
On this basis, it would be advisable for those members and staff who work in this area to carry aï¿½Bar Association photo ID, driver's licence or other appropriate identification with them during the APEC Conference period.
4. Obtaining member identification
Members who wish to obtain or renew a member ID card may do so by contacting reception.ï¿½For convenience and to facilitate speedier processing, an application formï¿½/ tax invoice may be downloaded from the association's web site.
5. Court sittings
State courts within an area bounded by Manly, Hornsby, Windsor, Penrith, Camden, Campbelltown and Sutherland, with the exception of bail sittings (mentioned below), will not sit during the public holiday on Friday, 7 September. Similarly, the NSW Attorney Generalâs Department has been advised that Federal and Family courts throughout metropolitan Sydney will also not sit on that day.
Supreme Court of NSW
With the exception of Friday, 7 September, the Supreme Court will maintain its standard operating hours (9am to 5pm).
Court sittings will also be unaffected, although in criminal trials, the court is mindful that adjustments may need to be made to the timing of police witness evidence due to theirï¿½additional operational requirements during this time.
The Supreme Court will be closed on Friday, 7 September, the designated APEC public holiday. As is the case on other public holidays, duty judges will be available to hear urgent applications. The duty judges' names will be published in the court list in the usual manner.
_Criminalï¿½sittings between 27 August and 3 September:
>> Country: Additional sittings confirmed and listed for Albury, Bathurst (sittings at Katoomba), East Maitland, Goulburn, Lismore, Port Macquarie, Queanbeyan, Taree and Wagga Wagga. Sittings originally fixed and sitting at Broken Hill, Coffs Harbour, Griffith, Lismore, Newcastle, Nowra, Orange, Tamworth. Wollongong and Gosford each sittingï¿½one court to deal with short matters.
>> Sydney West: Parramatta, Penrith and Campbelltown each sittingï¿½three courts to deal with short matters.
>> Sydney: Estimated that there will beï¿½six trial courts, one short matters court andï¿½one appeals court sitting.
Civil sittings will continue as normal.
Weekend and weekday Local Court bail sittings will continue over the two week period, including the public holiday planned for 7 September.
All APEC related matters from 27 August to 10 September 2007 will be dealt with at Parramatta Court.
For the period 7 September to 10 September the following will apply:
>> APEC matters from Sydney Police Centre (SPC) will be dealt with via AVL to Parramatta Court 5
>> Non-APEC matters from SPC will be dealt with via AVL to Parramatta Court 5ï¿½
>> Usual non-APEC matters (from Parramatta/Penrith/Campbelltown) will be dealt with by Parramatta Court 4 in person.ï¿½
>> Overflow of APEC Matters (transported from SPC to Parramatta Court) in person at Parramatta Court 4.
6. Traffic changes
There will be a number of traffic changes in and around Sydney, beginning as early as 1 September.ï¿½A recentï¿½edition of In Brief published aï¿½notification on this subject from the RTA and the NSW Police Force. The Roads and Traffic Authority web site providesï¿½the most detailed andï¿½accessible source of informationï¿½on road closures and special event clearways.
Members travelling through Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport are advised to pay particular attention to periodic lane closures on key roads, including Southern Cross Drive, South Dowling Street and the Eastern Distributor.
7. Maritime exclusion zones
Unfortunately, the yachting fraternity at the Bar can't escape disruption by taking to theï¿½water. Security exclusion zones on Sydney Harbour will apply at certain times. More information can be found from the NSW Maritime web site
Visit the APEC web site
The APEC web site for news and current awareness. In particular, the latest Sydney Bulletinï¿½includes colour coded maps and street directories of road closures and other important information.
30 August 2007