Canberra's $160 million justice precinct expansion is facing further delays, potentially forcing the new drug and alcohol court to hold some sentencing hearings in Queanbeyan or at the military and federal courts.
There is a "material risk" that the final stage of the landmark city project won't meet its scheduled completion date of early 2020, according to a report tabled this week in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
An ACT government spokeswoman said the potential delay was due to work on the existing Supreme Court building, in particular its heritage aspects, being "more complex than first anticipated".
There had also been "contractor supply chain issues", the spokeswoman said.
She said project managers Juris was still expecting that the bulk of construction would be finished by the end of the year, with only minor work required in 2020.
The courts precinct redevelopment was the ACT government's first public-private partnership.
The terms of the territory's contract with Juris means that the private sector partner bears the full cost of the delay.
The redevelopment has already suffered lengthy delays since construction work started in March 2016.
The development was split into two phases, with stage one originally slated for completion in late 2017 and stage two due to be finished in late 2018.
Those timelines were then pushed back to late August 2018, for stage one, and the first half of 2019, for stage two, after Juris advised in a May 2018 report that an "overheated" construction market had slowed progress.
The new four-storey Supreme Court building fronting Vernon Circle, which was the centerpiece of the project's first stage, opened on October 15 last year.
That was later revised to early 2020 - a delivery date which is now under a cloud.
The final stage includes the refurbishment of the two remaining courtooms in the heritage-listed court building, as well as mediation suits, hearing rooms and space for justice support groups.
It will be used for the ACT's first drug and alcohol court, which is due to start hearings early next year.
The report tabled in the Assembly revealed the Supreme Court was investigating "alternative arrangements" for the drug and alcohol court in the event the refurbished building was not ready.
Asked to detail outline those alternatives, the government spokeswoman said there was agreements with the federal court, military court or Queanbeyan courthouse to use their courtrooms if necessary.
But she said, at this stage, those options were not expected to be required.
As part of its contract with the ACT government, Juris is responsible for maintaining the precinct for 25 years.
The ACT government will pay off the development over that time. The total cost of the project is $250.4 million in 2016 dollars.
Juris is a consortium which includes construction company Laing O'Rourke, investment bank Macquarie Capital, Programmed Facility Management and Lyons architects.