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Family Law

Do I need a lawyer to go to court?

By August 30, 2016No Comments

By Angela Li

The short answer is no. In family law proceedings, it is not uncommon for a party to represent themselves in court. In fact, the court has published guidelines in relation to cases that involve self-represented litigants.

If you are thinking about going to court and representing yourself, you should have a read of these guidelines, so you know what to expect when you appear before the Judge.

Here is a summary of those guidelines:

  1. The judge should (as much as possible) ensure that procedural fairness is afforded to all parties so there is a fair trial.
  2. The judge should explain any procedures relevant to the case. For example, if your matter goes to trial, the judge should tell inform you of the order witnesses should be called, whether you have a right to cross-examine them.
  3. If something unusual is requested by the other side (for example, if they want to call witnesses out of turn), the judge could explain to you how that might affect your case.
  4. The judge should explain your right to object to evidence that might be considered inadmissible.
  5. The judge might suggest certain procedural steps that might be taken.
  6. In some circumstances, the judge might:
    1. Question witnesses.
    2. Suggest applications or submissions that should be put to the court.
    3. Clarify any orders sought by the parties.

These guidelines are aimed to ensure that the self-represented person is not at a disadvantage by not having a lawyer at court representing them.

If you are thinking about going to court and representing yourself, why not give Alliance Family Law a call on 6223 2400? We can give you some advice about what to expect at court, what questions a Judge might ask of you, and generally to help you prepare for your hearing. It’s important that you’re armed with advice, as you have a right to have a fair trial.

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