Migration: Hearing types

First court date (directions hearing)

When you file your Application – Migration with the Court, you will receive a date and time for the first court date. The first court date is known as a directions hearing.

The directions hearing is a procedural hearing where a judicial registrar will determine whether your application is to be listed for a final hearing and make appropriate directions. During the directions hearing, the Court may:

  • make orders which require you to file amended or additional documents, and list the matter for a second or final hearing date
  • approve any agreement you may make with the Minister’s representative about your case (these are called ‘proposed consent orders’)
  • finalise the application, if you or the Minister requests the Court to do so.

None of the legal arguments about your case will be discussed at this hearing.

If you need the ‘proposed consent orders’ interpreted, let the Minister’s lawyers know and they will arrange an interpreter.

If your application relates to a protection visa, you will be given details to contact a representative from legal aid.

If you do not agree with the Minister’s proposed consent orders, on the day of your directions hearing, the judge or judicial registrar will make orders ‘on the papers’. That means the judge or judicial registrar will make orders based on the documents that have been filed. The orders will be emailed to you or, if you do not have an email, posted to you. You must comply with the orders that are made.

Show cause hearing

Sometimes, the Court will order a hearing before a final hearing where you are asked to show that you have an arguable case. This type of hearing is known as a ‘show cause’ hearing. If you have a show cause hearing, you will have an opportunity to raise the issues in your case with the judge. The Minister will usually be represented by a lawyer, and you will have the opportunity to respond to what the Minister’s lawyer says in court.

If you cannot show that you have an arguable case, the Court may dismiss your application without a final hearing.

The Court does not always hold a show cause hearing.

Final hearing

If you were successful at your show cause hearing or a show cause hearing was not ordered, the next court date will be the final hearing.

At the final hearing, the judge will hear your arguments and the Minister’s lawyers’ arguments. The judge will ask questions about your case. If you have a lawyer representing you, you do not need to speak at the hearing. If you are representing yourself, the judge will ask you questions about your case.

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