Step by step guide: Preparing for the hearing
Step 1: Speak to your legal representative
If you have been served with (given) an application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you will either need to:
- get a private lawyer 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.
If you are going to represent yourself, you should get
Step 2: Read the applicant's statements and supporting evidence
If you are represented the applicant may serve his or her statement and any other statements on your lawyer.
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.
If the Applicant does not file and serve their witness statements by the date ordered by the Court, you should tell the Court at the next mention that the Applicant has not followed the orders.
The Court may:
- not allow them to rely on late statements
- adjourn or delay the hearing, or
- decide to dismiss the application for an Apprehended Violence Order.
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. You should do this even if the Applicant hasn’t followed directions to file and serve their witness statements.
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, the Court can issue a warrant for their arrest and they will then need to explain why they didn't come to court.
For more information, see Written statements and evidence.
If 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.
Children 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
If you want a child who is under 16 to give evidence, you should also get
Step 5: Plan what to take to court
You will need to take the following with you to the hearing:
- the application for an AVO and any Provisional or Interim AVO
- copies of your witness statements and evidence
- copies of the applicant's witness statements and evidence
- your notes for speaking to the Court
- 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 prepare an outline of your case, including:
- a brief overview of the circumstances which led to the application for an AVO
- the witnesses, documents, photographs and other evidence that support your case
- which of the applicant's witness statements you dispute or disagree with, and why.
You should also prepare for cross-examination of the applicant’s witnesses.
Checklist: Preparing questions for cross-examination
You might want to practice speaking to the Court 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: Presenting your case at the hearing.