How To Run A Domestic Violence Trial

Step 1: Make Sure You Have A Good Case

Domestic violence proceedings are very serious and, if convicted of domestic violence or an order is made against you, it can seriously impact on your future. If you are planning on contesting a domestic violence order application, you need to make sure that you have a good chance at success. Check out our FAQs, What happens when you are charged with domestic violence? for more information on how these proceedings can effect you and the initial process. If you are worried about how this would effect a parenting dispute, read our article, How does the Family Court deal with domestic violence?.

Step 2: Prepare Your Evidence

When your matter is listed for a final hearing, the court will give you directions on when to file your material that you wish to rely on. You can get a copy of these directions from the court registry if you are not sure. The first date you receive will be the date that the aggrieved must file, the second date will be the date that the respondent must file. The court will then give dates that subpoenas are due to be filed. It is important that you file any subpoenas on this date and have them served so the documents can be produced to the court for the trial.

All evidence must be filed by way of affidavit. If you wish to use any witnesses, you will need to get them to file an affidavit too. Make sure you include all information that you want the court to consider because if it is not in your affidavit, then you cannot rely on it. This includes recordings, text messages, photographs and emails.

Step 3: Prepare For The Trial

Once your material, and the other person's material, is filed, you can start preparing your arguments. Read carefully through the evidence for the other person and figure out the important points that you will need to raise with the court at the hearing. The judge will read all the material beforehand but when you are in court, this is your opportunity to present your case to the judge so they understand what happened from your perspective.

Step 4: Appear At The Trial

You and your witnesses must appear on the day of the trial. Only the aggrieved and the respondent are allowed in the courtroom the whole day and the witnesses are only allowed inside the court when they are giving evidence. The aggrieved will give their evidence first and then the respondent will have the opportunity to cross-examine. In domestic violence proceedings, there are protections awarded to aggrieveds during cross-examination so make sure you check whether any of these exceptions apply to your cross-examination. The respondent will then present their case after the applicant and will also have the opportunity to be cross-examined. Both sides will then have the chance to providing closing arguments which summarise their case and how the evidence presented itself at the trial.

Step 5: Receive Your Decision

At the end of the proceedings, the judge will either give you their decision straight away, or if it is a complicated matter, they might adjourn the matter over to another day to think about their decision. Once you have the judge's decision, this is final. You cannot argue with them and ask them to change their mind. You can, however, make an application for appeal in certain circumstances within 28 days of the decision. You should obtain legal advice if you wish to make an appeal to see if your matter is appropriate for appeal.


We have many years experience in domestic violence matters for both applications and breaches of domestic violence orders. With our background in criminal law, our domestic violence solicitors are experienced in court advocacy and have negotiated and appeared in court on thousands of DVOs and contraventions of DVOs. To get the best result, you need to have the best domestic violence lawyer who understands how this area of law operates.

Contact us for more information or to book a free legal advice session to find out your options.

This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice relevant to your situation.

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