Intervention Orders – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I apply for an intervention order after hours?

Applications can be made outside of Court operating hours by members of the police force.

A police officer who responds to a family violence incident may apply to another police officer, who is of the rank of Sergeant or higher, for a family violence safety notice.

A family violence safety notice may contain the same conditions as an intervention order. The order is made by an “out of hours magistrate” who the police contact. The matter will then be heard in court at the next possible opportunity.

Similarly to an intervention order, a breach of the conditions of a family violence safety notice will constitute a criminal offence

 

2. Where do I go if I want to apply for an intervention order?

An application can be made at a local Magistrates’ Court or Children’s Court, or if a family violence incident has occurred and has been reported to police, a member of the police force can then make an application for a family violence safety notice and can also make an after-hours or remote-location application to a Court for an order.

 

3. Do I need to see a solicitor if I am applying for an intervention order?

As with any other application to a court, parties have the right to represent themselves and whist it is not necessary to retain a solicitor, it is highly recommended given the range of issues and complexities that can arise in proceedings.

In particular, intervention order proceedings can have important ramifications for both family law and criminal law matters.

A solicitor can provide useful guidance as to your rights and obligations, and can help ensure that the best outcome for you is reached in the course of proceedings.

 

4. If I have been served with an intervention order against me do I need a solicitor?

As with any other application to a court, parties have the right to represent themselves and whist it is not necessary to retain a solicitor, it is highly recommended given the range of issues and complexities that can arise in proceedings.

In particular, intervention order proceedings can have important ramifications for both family law and criminal law matters.

A solicitor can provide useful guidance as to your rights and obligations, and can help ensure that the best outcome for you is reached in the course of proceedings.

 

5. If I have been served with an intervention order against me what are my options in agreeing to it or defending it?

There are numerous court dates during intervention order proceedings.

The first of these is the Mention Hearing, a primarily administrative hearing where the parties can attempt to negotiate an outcome. If no agreement can be reached, the matter will be adjourned to a later date.

The second court date is the Directions Hearing. This is another administrative hearing which provides another opportunity for the parties to negotiate. If no agreement can be reached on this date, the matter proceeds to a Contest Hearing.

The third and final court date is the Contest Hearing. This is a substantive hearing where evidence is led by both parties and any witnesses. The presiding Magistrate will make a decision about whether the intervention order will be granted or not. At this hearing witnesses, which may include the applicant or respondent, will be called to give evidence and be cross examined.

 

6. If I have an intervention order and I need to vary it or change it in any way can I do so?

The terms of an interim intervention order can either be varied by negotiations at court hearings during the course of the proceedings relating to that order, or by a specific application made to the Court for a variation of that order.

The terms of a final intervention order can only be varied by application to the Court.

If a person makes an application for a variation, the Court may make an interim order varying the original order.

 

7. Can I appeal a decision against an intervention order?

Yes, depending on the circumstances of the original hearing, appeals are made either to the County Court or Supreme Court, and are conducted by way of rehearing.

Wide powers exist to the court hearing the appeal, including confirming the original decision, setting it aside, or varying it.

 

8. Will I need representation in relation to an intervention order when I am applying for one or defending one?

When initially applying for an intervention order you attend the closest Magistrates’ Court yourself or telephone the police if it is out of court hours or if you are in immediate danger.

As with any other application to a court, parties have the right to represent themselves and whist it is not necessary to retain a solicitor, it is highly recommended given the range of issues and complexities that can arise in proceedings.

In particular, intervention order proceedings can have important ramifications for both family law and criminal law matters.

A solicitor can provide useful guidance as to your rights and obligations, and can help ensure that the best outcome for you is reached in the course of proceedings.

 

9. Does it cost any money to have an intervention order?

It costs you nothing to apply for an intervention order.

The only costs involved are those of the parties’ own legal representation in the proceedings, however, the Court does have the power to award costs against parties in certain circumstances, where, for example, the intervention order was applied for on false grounds.

 

10. What can I include in an intervention order?

The Court can impose a wide range of conditions in an intervention order, including:

  • prohibiting a person from committing family violence against the protected person;
  • excluding a person from a home;
  • conditions relating to the use of personal property; and
  • prohibiting a person from approaching, telephoning or otherwise contacting the protected person, unless in the company of a police officer or a specified person.

 

11. Can I get an intervention order on behalf of my children?

Yes, children can also be listed as affected family members on an intervention order when you apply for yours.

Alternatively, if an intervention order is sought for the protection of the child alone, this can be done through an application to the Children’s Court.

 

12. Does an intervention order override a Family Court order?

No, orders made pursuant to the Family Law Act by the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court prevail over intervention orders to the extent that they are inconsistent with each other.

This is both a constitutional principle with respect to state vs. federal law, and is also specifically recognised in the relevant pieces of litigation.

That said, however, a Magistrates’ Court (or other court making a family violence intervention order) can temporarily revive, vary, discharge or suspend an existing order, injunction or arrangement made pursuant to the Family Law Act.

 

13. Can I still go to the Family Court if I have got an intervention order?

Yes, and in fact in many circumstances an application to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for parenting orders will be the only way for a parent who is a respondent to the intervention order to ensure that they have time with their child following the making of the order.

It is usually important to apply to either the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court as quickly as possible.

 

14. Can a Magistrate make a decision in an intervention order about who sees the children or who they live with?

Whilst a magistrate does not expressly have the power to make this decision in the same way that a Family Court or Federal Circuit Court judge does pursuant to the Family Law Act, if they list the child(ren) as an affected family member on an intervention order they are, for practical purposes making this order, as the respondent parent will be prohibited from contacting or communicating with that child, subject to certain exceptions.

In these circumstances you would need to urgently see a solicitor to apply to either the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for orders to spend time with the child(ren).

A Magistrates’ Court (or other court making a family violence intervention order) can also temporarily revive, vary, discharge or suspend an existing order, injunction or arrangement made pursuant to the Family Law Act.

 

15. Can a Magistrate in an intervention order hearing make an order about who keeps the house or what money I get?

No, these powers are exclusively available to judges of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.

At most, the magistrate can order the return of personal property and belongings, such as clothes.

 

16. Can a Magistrate in an intervention order hearing let me go back to my property to get my things?

Yes, an order can be made to enable the respondent to attend a residence to collect personal property, in the company of a police offer.

 

17. What happens if there is an intervention order against me which stops me from going home but I work from home?

This largely depends on how the order was made. If the order was made on an interim basis an ex parte (that is, in the absence of at last one of the parties) an application would have to be made in order to vary or discharge the order.

However, the order could also be made subject to the hearing of evidence during a Contest Hearing, after which the only option available would be to lodge an appeal.