Going to the hearing
There are 5 steps you need to consider if you are representing yourself in the Local Court for a noise abatement order.
You should arrive at court at least 15 minutes early to give yourself enough time to go through security and find your courtroom.
The court will usually put up a list of all the cases being heard that day. You should look for your name on the list and it will tell you the courtroom you need to go to.
Some courts will have a registration desk where you can give them your name and let the court know you are there. In other courts, the court officer will approach you in the court room.
For information about how to find your courtroom, you should watch the video below.
You can also read a transcript of this video (48kb).
If you are running late for the hearing, it is important you ring the court registry and let them know.
Take a seat in the courtroom and wait for your case. The court officer may come to you and ask for your name.
When it is your turn, the court officer or the magistrate may call out the name of your matter.
Hearings in the Local Court are heard by a magistrate. You should:
You are called the 'applicant' and your neighbour will be 'the respondent'.
Once your case is ready to be heard, you should sit at the bar table at the front of the courtroom. Get out your papers and arrange them so you can find things when you need them during the hearing. Only put items on the table that you need. Do not leave your bags on the bar table.
For information about where to sit and what the courtroom may look like, see Who's who in court.
Sometimes you or the other party may need to postpone the hearing to another date. This is called an 'adjournment'. The magistrate may not agree to this unless there is a very good reason. You should provide any evidence you have to support your request for an adjournment.
If you are given an adjournment, the magistrate may make an order that you pay for any costs because of the delay.
The hearing is your chance to convince the magistrate that a noise abatement order should be made.
You need to prove on the 'balance of probabilities' (that it is more likely than not) that the noise the other party is making is 'offensive' and is likely to occur again.
You should focus on the evidence that supports your case. For more information about the evidence you should prepare, see Preparing for the hearing.
You will usually be asked to present your evidence first. In most cases you will be asked to give evidence from the witness box. After you have given your evidence, the other party may ask you some questions. This is called 'cross-examination'.
You may then ask your witnesses (if you have any) to present their evidence. They will also be asked to give their evidence from the witness box. They may then be cross-examined by the other party.
After you have presented all your evidence, the other party will present theirs. After the other party has given their evidence, you may cross-examine them.
The other party may then call any other witnesses they want to give evidence. You will then be given the opportunity to cross-examine them too.
After you and the other party have presented your evidence, the magistrate may ask both of you to present your submissions. Your submissions should:
The magistrate may make a decision on the day of the hearing.
Sometimes the magistrate may take a short break to think about your case before making a decision, or the magistrate may give the decision on a later date.
If the magistrate decides in your favour, they will make a noise abatement order. If the other party is not at the hearing, it will be sent to them.
For more information about appeals, costs and what can happen if the other party does not follow a noise abatement order, see After the hearing.