Preparing for the hearing - Step by step guide

Step-by-step guide icon  Preparing for the hearing - step by step guide

Step 1: Speak to​​​​ your legal representative

If you have been served with (given) an application for an AVO, you will either need to get a private solicitor to represent you or represent yourself.

If you represent yourself, you will have to present your case to the court and make sure that your witnesses attend.

For referrals to private solicitors, contact LawAccess NSW.

If you are going to represent yourself, you should get legal advice

Step 2: Read the a​​pplicant's statements and supporting evidence

If you are represented the applicant may serve his or her statement and any other statements on your solicitor.

If you are representing yourself the applicant may have been ordered to file his or her statement and any other statements with the court registry or to serve them on you.

If the statements are filed with the court registry, you are responsible for getting a copy of the statements from the court. You should read the statements carefully.

You should make notes about anything that you disagree with.

Step 3: Prepare, file and serve your witness statements

Follow any directions to prepare, file and serve written statements of yourself and any other witnesses.

For more information, including instructions on how to prepare your statement and to see a sample statement, see Written statements and evidence​.

If the applicant files their statements late after you have already filed your statements, you may be able to file an amended statement or another statement. If you think you want to do this, you should get legal advice.

Step 4: Consider​ whether you need to issue any subpoenas

If you have a witness who has prepared a statement but you think they may not come to court to give evidence, you may want to serve them with (give them) a Subpoena to Give Evidence.

A Subpoena to Give Evidence is a court order that makes someone come to court to give evidence.

If the person doesn't do what the subpoena says they may be arrested and brought before the court. They will then need to explain why they didn't come to court.

For more information, see Written statements and evidence​.

Alert IconIf you need to issue a subpoena to get someone to come to court, you may want to consider whether they will actually help your case.

Alert IconChildren may give evidence in AVO cases, however courts try to avoid this unless it is in the interests of justice. When a child gives evidence the court may be closed and everyone not involved in the case will have to leave the courtroom. A child may also be able to give evidence from a recording or using closed-circuit television. If you are under 16 years of age or your child (who is under 16) is asked to give evidence, you should get legal advice. If you want a child who is under 16 to give evidence, you should also get legal advice. ​

Step 5: Plan w​​​hat to take to court

You will need to take the following with you to the hearing:

  • the application for an AVO and any Interim or Provisional AVO
  • copies of your witness statements and evidence
  • copies of the applicant's witness statements and evidence
  • your notes for speaking to the magistrate
  • a notebook and pen to make notes during the hearing
  • highlighters and post-it notes to mark important information
  • your witnesses.

Step 6: Plan what you are going to say in court

Before the hearing date, you should write down the main things you want to tell the court, including:

  • stating briefly the circumstances which led to the application for an AVO
  • mentioning the witnesses, documents, photographs and other evidence that support your case
  • explaining which of the applicant's witness statements you dispute or disagree with, and why.

You might want to practice speaking to the magistrate with one of your friends or relatives. You could also go to a Local Court and watch some AVO hearings. If you telephone the court, you can find out the dates and times that hearings are held. Courts are open to the public, except if a case involves a child, and you can sit in the public area at the back of any court and watch.

Step by step guide: For more information on what happens at the hearing, see Presenting your case at the hearing - Step by step guide