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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself

Noise abatement orders

If your neighbour has a problem with you making noise, they may have applied for a noise abatement order at the Local Court to try and stop the noise.

    What is a noise abatement order?

    A noise abatement order is a court order made by the Local Court. The order requires a person to stop making the type of noise described in the order.

    Your neighbour can apply for a noise abatement order by making an application at the Local Court. If your neighbour makes an application, a copy of that application must be served (given) to you. The application will say what date and at what court the case will be heard.

    If you want to oppose the order you will need to go to court on the specified date. If you don't go to court, the order may be made without you being there. The case will be listed for a mention and then a hearing. At the hearing you may present evidence supporting the reasons why you think an order should not be issued.

    The magistrate may make a noise abatement order if they are satisfied that there is offensive noise. If the order is made it applies immediately and lasts until it is it revoked (cancelled) by the court.

    You should try mediating with your neighbour going to court. For more information, see Talking to your neighbour.

    What is offensive noise?

    The court will issue a noise abatement order if your neighbour can prove on the balance of probabilities (that it is more likely than not) that the noise is 'offensive' and is likely to occur again. 

    Offensive noise is noise that:

    • is harmful or likely to be harmful to a person outside the premises where the noise is coming from, or
    • interferes unreasonably or is likely to interfere unreasonably with the comfort or repose (relaxation) of a person outside the premises where the noise is coming from.

    The court will consider a number of factors before determining whether the noise is offensive including:

    • the volume of the noise
    • how loud the noise is compared to other noise in the area
    • if the noise has any irritating characteristics, for example, if it is high pitched
    • the time the noise occurs
    • the frequency of the noise
    • how long the noise lasts
    • the effect the noise has on you and other people in your area.

    The evidence you present at the hearing that the noise is not offensive should cover these issues.

    For more information about preparing your case, see Preparing for the hearing.