Difficulties with another person or a neighbour makes life extremely stressful and problematic. With any situation you should always try to resolve the issue between the parties first and foremost.
Sometimes situations go beyond this, and you require protection from on-going harassment, violence and/or damage to your property.
If there is a threat or danger to you or your property, always call the Police for assistance.
Litigation should always be a last resort, you should consider:
- Talking to your neighbor
This is the first and most important step, try to explain the situation and see if a solution and/or agreement can be made. Remember your neighbor may not even know there is an issue.
If talking to your neighbour isn’t an option then consider writing to the other person, be clear, concise and polite. If there are ongoing issues with the neighbour this option is recommended as there is an exact record of what is said between the parties.
2. If talking doesn’t work, use a third party or intermediary to assist
Use an independent person to the dispute to assist in talking through the problem with the neighbour. Sometimes another neighbour, friend or a community leader can fulfill this role.
3. Contact the Community Justice Centre to arrange mediation
Phone: 1800 990 777
The CJC can arrange a mediation session. Mediation is an informal discussion with a trained professional to help you try and reach an applicable agreement.
In cases where an AVO is taken out through the courts that is personal in nature the courts will also try to send the parties to mediation to resolve the matter before a court.
4. Apprehended Personal Violence Orders / Litigation
Obtaining an Order
An application must be completed with the details of the defendant or respondent. You need to consider the merits of the application and include specific details of the reasons that an order of protection is required to be made by the court.
It is critical that your application does not contain any information that is vexatious, frivolous or untruthful.
Once the order is accepted by the Registry a court date will be set.
The Police will serve a copy of the APVO on your behalf with all the relevant documentation to the respondent / defendant.
If you do not arrange a lawyer you will need to attend court and represent yourself at court. The defendant may consent to the application, ask for an adjournment or dispute the application.
If the order is disputed the court will make orders for service of statements by both parties. The statement will form the basis for your case in court so, a significant amount of time and careful planning is required in order to produce a concise and productive document.
The next date is a compliance check / mention at court to ensure that the matter is still moving forward and the statements have been served. A hearing date will then be set.
At the hearing date, you or your lawyer is required to put forth your case. Your court date is set but it is important to understand that the APVO matter is one of likely a number of hearings to proceed that day and may not be the first matter dealt with. Those with solicitors typically take priority. If your matter is not reached on the day a further hearing date is set and your matter should be given priority on the next occasion.
Court proceedings are very formal and you should ensure that you dress and act in an appropriate manner. All court proceedings are subject to a number of pieces of legislation such as the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW). There are a number of rules to evidence before it is admitted by the court, it is not the case that you can say or do anything that you see relevant.
See our article “tips for attending court”.
After the Hearing & Costs
These proceedings are part of what is commonly referred to as a cost jurisdiction; that is where the person who loses the proceedings may have to pay the other parties legal costs. It is for this reason that it is critical that you obtain legal advice before initiating proceedings to ensure that you not only have a case but you are putting your best case forward.
How can Catron Simmons Lawyers Help me?
We can advise you how to resolve your dispute to ensure the best outcome for you. We can advise you of your rights, answer any legal questions you have and help negotiate an outcome. We can prepare letters, documents and any required applications on your behalf. We represent you and your interests at court ensuring that your application has the best chance of success.
Most importantly when it comes to an AVO Catron Simmons Lawyers have extensive experience in both prosecuting and defending such applications. We will be able to tell you very quickly if you have a case and prepare and present that case in the best possible manner.
Contact Catron Simmons Lawyers on 9836 1327 or 0407 171 626.
Is a government information, referrals and advice service/website for people with a legal problems including information about attending court.
Law Society NSW
Information on dealing with neighbours and knowing when and how to complain.