​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

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Step-by-step guide icon

Step by step guide: Presenting your case at hearing

You can use the following step by step guide to assist you if you are representing yourself. If someone is representing you, this step by step guide can help you understand what happens before and during the hearing.

Step 1: B​​efore the hearing

Even though your case may be listed at a certain time, it is a good idea to try to get to court half an hour earlier so that you can find out what courtroom your case is in. If you think you are going to be late, you should ring the court registry and let them know. If you are not there, the Court can decide your case without you.

There are often many cases listed on the same day and you may have to wait until your name is called. You can take a seat in the courtroom or if the courtroom is full you can wait outside. Don't forget to turn off your mobile phone before going into the courtroom. Make sure you don't leave the court building and are close enough to the courtroom to hear your name called.

The courtroom will close for morning tea (usually around 11:30am) and lunch (usually from 1:00pm to 2:00pm). You will have to leave the courtroom during these breaks. The Court Officer or the registry can tell you what time the courtroom will reopen.

It is possible that you could be at court for a few hours, and sometimes for most of the day, so you should make arrangements with your work or childcare if necessary.

Before the hearing starts, or sometime during the hearing but before it finishes, you can:

  • consent (agree) to the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) without admissions. This means you agree to the terms of the AVO but you don't admit that you have done anything wrong. If you consent, a Final AVO will be made and there will be no need to go ahead with the hearing.
  • offer undertakings (formal promise). This means you agree not to do the things listed in the AVO. The terms of the undertakings are put in writing and placed on the court file. Undertakings are not the same as an AVO. They can't be enforced if you breach the terms of the undertaking.
  • ask to collect your belongings from the protected person's home. 

Step 2: What to do an​d say in the court room

Once your case is called, 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. Don't leave your bags on the bar table.

AVO hearings in the Local Court are held before a magistrate.

You should:

  • refer to the Magistrate as 'Your Honour'
  • stand and bow when the Magistrate enters or leaves the courtroom
  • stand up when speaking to the Magistrate
  • always be polite to the Magistrate, other court staff and the other party
  • refer to the other party or their lawyer as Mr/Ms and their surname.

For more information, see Who's who in court.

Step 3: Adjourn​ments

Sometimes you or the applicant may need to ask the Court to adjourn (postpone) the hearing to another date.

If​ the person in need of protection doesn't go to the hearing, the Court may:

  • adjourn the hearing, or
  • dismiss the application.

If you don't go to the hearing, and you have not asked for an adjournment, the magistrate may:

  • adjourn the hearing, or
  • run the hearing without you.

The Court may not agree to an adjournment unless there is a good reason. There may be an adjournment if either you, the applicant or an important witness, have a good reason for not being able to make it to the hearing.

If the Court does agree to an adjournment, they may make a costs order against the party who needs the adjournment.

For more information, see Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases.

Step 4: The ​hearing

When the Magistrate sits down, they will make sure that all of the parties are present in the courtroom.

The Magistrate will have read any statements that were filed at the court registry by you and the applicant. The Magistrate will then want to hear the rest of the evidence in the case.

For more information, see Arguing your case.

Step 5: The de​cision

After hearing the evidence, the Court will either:

  • make a Final AVO, or
  • dismiss the application.

The Court will usually make a decision straight away. Sometimes, the Court may want to take a short break or the decision will be 'reserved'. This means that a decision is not given on the day of the hearing and the Court will contact you when it has made a decision or you will be given another date to come back to court for the decision to be given.

The Court will give reasons for its decision.

A court will only make a Final AVO if it is satisfied on the 'balance of probabilities' (meaning that something is more likely than not to be true) that the protected person fears, and it is reasonable for them to fear, that you will:

  • be violent towards them
  • harass, intimidate or stalk them
  • damage their property. 

​In domestic violence cases the Court can make a Final AVO even if the protected person doesn’t actually fear the defendant, provided there are reasonable grounds for that fear. In this case, the Court will be limited to making the mandatory orders. 

For more information, see The decision.