Covid-19 Exceptional Measures in the Judicial System of Timor-Leste
On March 23rd, 2020, the Superior Council of the Judiciary (“CSMJ”) approved a resolution with the following exceptional management measures for a period of 30 days (subject to renewal):
A. In District and Appeal Courts, only procedural steps and acts involving fundamental rights should be executed, namely:
i) Urgent procedural steps related to minors at risk;
ii) Proceedings and/or judicial trials of arrested defendants;
iii) Judicial examinations of arrested defendants;
iv) Judicial trials in summary procedures of arrested defendants;
v) Proceedings related to probation assessment;
vi) Injunctions/protective orders;
vii) All other enforceable procedures, of any jurisdiction, where Judges consider to be related to fundamental rights or intended to avoid irreparable harm, i.e. legal prescriptions.
B. In District Courts, these procedures must be ensured through a shift schedule plan, identical in nature to the judicial vacation, to be proposed by the Judge Administrators and approved by the President of the CSMJ.
C. The restriction of access to Courts for persons who were not invited to attend or for those who don’t need to perform an urgent procedural act should de carried out, without limitation of the publicity of trial hearings.
D. The Court of Appeal, including the Chamber of Auditors services, will establish their own contingency plan, with mandatory attendance at the service of employees whose activity is essential to ensure the regular functioning of the institution.
This resolution takes into account the current state of emergency in public health matters (pandemic) declared by the World Health Organization and also the deliberation of the Council of Ministers at its extraordinary meeting held on March 23rd, 2020 in which was stated that “Each State institution initiates a significant reduction in the presence of employees in the workplace, in order to maintain the minimum necessary for essential public services to continue operating”.