Tips for Appearing for Yourself in an AVO Court Appearance

If you have decided to consent to an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) there is little point using a lawyer. However, for some people who may not be good at speaking in public appearing in Court is a terrifying experience. For these people they may choose to select a lawyer.

The following tips are designed to assist people who may want to appear for themselves.

1. In most Sydney metropolitan courts there are domestic violence liaison officers (Police officers) who support and look after the interests of those people seeking an AVO. You should find one of these officers and ascertain the orders that the protected person (Person for whose protection and order is being sort) is seeking against you. Quite often the protected person may seek additional orders then what is in the original application or the provisional or interim AVO.

If there is no domestic violence liaison officer at court then you can approach the police prosecutor either before court or when the court adjourns. Most Police Prosecutors are helpful and will be able to confer with the protected person as to the orders they seek. Sometimes the Police Prosecutors may be busy and may not assist you at all. Try and not become upset or abusive towards the police prosecutor.

2. Once you are satisfied that you understand the orders that the protected person is seeking you should speak with the court officer in the court that you are appearing in. You should advise this person that you are ready to agree to the AVO. This can often save you waiting for a long time before the court decides to call out your name.

3. When your matter is mentioned by the court you will normally make your way from the public gallery to a microphone that will be at the end of the bar table (where the lawyers sit). This is normally at the end opposite the police prosecutor. The Magistrate will ask you whether you consent to the making of an AVO against you for a set period of time. Normally the Magistrate will also read out the conditions of the AVO that you are consenting to. If you agree to those orders you then need to advise the court of this.

4. Normally the whole process once the matter is mentioned takes approximately 5 minutes.

5. Once the court makes the order you will normally be asked to wait for staff from the court office to type up the AVO. Once this is done the court office staff will read and explain the AVO to you. If you are happy that the AVO reflects what you consented to in court then you should sign the AVO. If you are not you should mention this to court office staff and ask them that the matter go back before the court so that any corrections can be made.

In most cases there are little or no issues that would cause you concern.
About this Author

Lionel Rattenbury
Criminal lawyer Sydney

The information in this article relates to the laws and court procedures in NSW, Australia. Different but similar laws and court procedures apply in different states of Australia.