Whether you are represented by a lawyer or unrepresented, going to court can be a daunting and stressful experience.
Court staff are available to help you. They can:
- Help you understand what forms you may need to file.
- Check your paperwork is complete and includes all requirements.
- Point you in the right direction for further information.
- Explain how the Court works.
- Tell you about how your case is managed at each stage, from filing to hearing or trial.
- Provide you with your hearing date, time and location.
- Advise you on the status of your matter.
- Help you register for and use the Commonwealth Courts Portal – to access your court file online, view upcoming court events and download orders.
- Advise you how to find an interpreter for your hearing.
- Inform you of the Court’s policy on issues of personal safety.
- Refer you to external services that help people with legal issues.
- Help you register for and use eLodgment – to file documents electronically.
There are limits on what help court staff can provide. They cannot:
- Give you legal advice.
- Advise what to write in your court documents.
- Confirm if you have supplied enough information.
- Tell you what to say in court.
- Advise if you should bring your case to court – it is recommended that you seek legal advice to determine this.
- Recommend a lawyer to act on your behalf.
- Tell you what the outcome of the Court’s decision might be.
- Interpret orders made by a judicial officer.
- Change an order once it has been made by the Court – it is recommended that you seek legal advice if you want to take this step.
- Enforce a court order, but can advise how you can apply to do this.
- Help you communicate with a judicial officer, other than at the hearing of your court case.
Contact the Court if you have a question.
Court Network is a unique court support service operating throughout Victoria and Queensland. Court Network is a volunteer based organisation that provides support, information and referrals to people attending court.
Depending on the type of case you are involved in, and your personal and financial circumstances, you may be able to obtain free legal advice through Legal Aid in your state or territory. For Legal Aid office contact details in your state and territory see https://www.nationallegalaid.org/for-individuals/
If you are attending court and representing yourself, you may be able to get free legal advice from a duty lawyer.
For information about duty lawyers, see Family Advocacy and Support Services.
National Relay Service
The National Relay Service (NRS) is a free service that allows you to make telephone calls to a registry if you are deaf or hearing and/or speech impaired and you have access to a TTY machine.
If you are deaf or hearing impaired, you should telephone the NRS:
- 133 677 (if you are deaf or hearing impaired)
- 1300 555 727 (if you are both deaf/hearing impaired and speech impaired)
Each registry has at least one courtroom with a hearing loop installed. Where practicable, arrangements can be made to help you use this facility if you are deaf or hearing impaired. If you would like to request a hearing loop, you need to contact the Court by email.
Other special arrangements
The Court is committed to ensuring that you can access justice while going through the Court process.
The Court has many buildings around Australia, all with varying facilities. Because of this, the Court needs to consider each individual request for special arrangements to ensure you receive the appropriate advice and most suitable action for your circumstances.
If you need a special arrangement, please contact the registry where your matter is listed at least one week before the hearing. For example, contact the Court if you:
- need regular breaks for a medical reason
- need an accessible courtroom because your mobility is impaired, or
- have any other special needs due to disability.
You can also contact the Court by phone between the hours of 8.30 am and 5.00 pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.