The magistrate will usually ask the applicant to present their case first. This will either be the police if they made the application on behalf of the protected person, or the protected person if he or she made the application themselves.
The magistrate may allow you both time to:
If the magistrate doesn't allow you time to do this, they will simply direct the first witness to enter the witness box and start listening to the evidence.
The applicant may have to stand next to the witness box and make an 'oath' or 'affirmation'. Both are promises to tell the truth. An oath has religious meaning and an affirmation does not. The court officer will read the oath or affirmation and the applicant should then respond 'I do'.
Usually, the applicant would have provided their 'evidence in chief' (the evidence they want to rely on) by way of written statement, so the case will start by you or your solicitor 'cross-examining' (questioning) the applicant. The magistrate may also hear oral evidence if they give leave (permission).
After you cross-examine the applicant, you will also get a chance to cross-examine the applicant's witnesses.
When asking the applicant and the applicant's witnesses questions, you should:
It is important that you don't interrupt the applicant or their witnesses when they are responding to your cross-examination questions. If they are not answering your questions you can ask the magistrate to direct them to do so. You can also make some notes of anything you want to comment on or clarify, and put it to them when they finish answering.
Don't speak rudely or abusively about the applicant or their witnesses. Stick to the facts and the evidence and be calm and polite.
After the applicant's evidence, the magistrate will give you a chance to give your evidence. You may have to stand next to the witness box and make an 'oath' or 'affirmation'. The court officer will read the oath or affirmation and you should respond 'I do'.
Usually, you would have provided your 'evidence in chief' (the evidence you want to rely on) in your statement, so you will start by being 'cross-examined' (questioned) by the applicant. This may be the police prosecutor if they applied for the AVO on behalf of the protected person, or if they made a private application, the protected person themselves or their solicitor.
The magistrate may also hear oral evidence if they give leave (permission).
During cross-examination you should:
If there are any issues you want to clear up that are raised in the cross-examination you may be able to give further evidence later. This is called 're-examination'.
You may get a chance to tell the court your version of what has happened, and why you believe the AVO is not necessary, but only if the magistrate gives you leave (permission).
You can only give evidence about what you saw or what was said to you directly. The magistrate may ask you questions or ask you to explain some things in more detail. The magistrate may also ask you to move on to another point if they feel you have said enough about a certain issue or you are speaking about something that is not relevant to the case.
Although your witnesses may have prepared witness statements before the hearing, those witnesses will still have to come to court.
A court officer will bring your witness into the courtroom and take them to the witness box where they will make an oath or affirmation.
The applicant will usually cross-examine each witness.
After the cross-examination, you may have a chance to ask the witnesses any further questions. This is called 're-examination'. You should only re-examine your witness if you want to clear up issues raised in the cross-examination.
Sometimes, when there is a lot of evidence or are many witnesses, the magistrate will not be able to finish the hearing in one day. If this happens, the magistrate will have to adjourn the hearing until the rest of the evidence can be heard. Depending on when the magistrate is next available, the adjournment may be for a few weeks or for a few months.
The magistrate will give you and the applicant instructions on when to come back to court and who should come to court on that day. In some cases, your witnesses and the applicant's witnesses will all have to come back to court for the rest of the hearing.
If the hearing is adjourned, the applicant may ask the magistrate to make an Interim AVO to protect them until the day of the hearing.
If the magistrate has heard all the evidence, the magistrate may then make a decision.
Step by step guide: For more information about what happens after arguing your case, see
Presenting your case at the hearing - Step by step guide.