Tribunal proceedings attendance guidelines

Court martial and Defence Force magistrate proceedings are conducted in public, unless there is a specific order.

If the proceedings are conducted on a Defence establishment, local entry requirements will apply and this will include obtaining and displaying a visitor’s pass.

Sign-in, seating and other arrangements may be put in place to ensure safe and orderly conduct of the proceedings.

Contact for entry

To arrange attendance to a proceeding, refer to the contact officer listed in the Upcoming superior Service tribunal proceedings page.

Contact should be made at least one week prior to the proceeding to obtain local information on parking and to make arrangements for entry. It is advisable to confirm arrangements the day prior for any changes.


While members of the public are welcome to proceedings, care needs to be taken not to disrupt the hearing. Food and drink is not permitted in the hearing room. Unnecessary talking or whispering during the proceedings is to be avoided.

Subject to any orders, mobile phones can be taken into the hearing room. To avoid disrespect or disruption, mobile phones must be switched off or to silent and must not be used in any manner.

Military personnel will put on headdress and salute when entering and exiting the court and it is customary for civilians to bow. All persons present in the hearing room are asked to stand when either the judge advocate, the panel or the Defence Force magistrate enter or retire from the hearing room. On command the military personnel will replace headdress and salute. It is customary for civilians to bow.

Media devices

Within the hearing room, no photographic, recording or communication equipment is permitted. In general, facilities will not be available to safely store such equipment outside the hearing room. 

In addition, the following should not be photographed outside the hearing room:

  • Any part of a Defence establishment.
  • Members of the court martial panel.
  • The judge advocate or Defence Force magistrate.
  • In sexual offences, the complainant.
  • Any other person or thing as ordered by the president, judge advocate or Defence Force magistrate.

Media reporting

The media may report on the proceedings, subject to the same prohibitions and limitations that would apply to a civilian criminal trial. In this respect, points to note are:

  • The members of the court martial panel are functionally equivalent to a jury.
  • Voir dire conventions apply in the same way as they do to a trial before a civilian judge and jury.
  • Orders closing a proceeding and/or non-publication orders may be made where, for example, it is necessary in the interests of the security or defence of Australia, the proper administration of justice, or public morals.
  • The usual additional care needs to be taken if one or more of the charges involves a sexual offence.
  • If a proceeding results in one or more convictions, the conviction is subject to an automatic review process. One possible outcome of an automatic review is an order for a new trial. As such, any reporting of the proceedings should comply with principles of sub judice pending the outcome of the automatic review.

Any electronic recording (audio and video) of any proceedings is prohibited unless approved. Approval can be sought through the named media liaison officer or alternatively, the clerk.

Accredited media may be approved to use an electronic device or a recording device in the hearing room for the purposes of:

  • Electronic note-taking.
  • Messaging by text.
  • Filing stories.

These devices must not generate sound, involve speech or interfere with the proceedings.