Some temporary procedural arrangements for initiating and hearing domestic and family violence applications in the Magistrates Court of Queensland have become permanent from 30 April 2022.
These arrangements were originally put in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the resulting efficiencies have seen the parliament entrench arrangements that allow parties and practitioners to interact with the court remotely.
Amendments under the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 impact various Acts and procedures. Those relating to domestic and family violence matters include:
Audio visual link
A new section 142A of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 provides that the Magistrates Court may conduct all or part of the proceeding by the use of audio visual links, or audio links. This includes:
- giving evidence;
- making submissions;
- taking an oath or affirmation.
A private application for a Temporary Protection Order (TPO), or an application to vary a TPO, can be filed electronically in any Queensland Magistrates Court if the court is closed on a normal business day, or if the applicant is required to isolate under a public health order.
Listing before verification
In circumstances of urgency, where a private applicant is unable to verify their application for a Temporary Protection Order before a Justice of the Peace or solicitor, they can obtain a hearing date, and then serve the application on the respondent, without verification. The application can be subsequently verified in front of the magistrate who hears the matter.
The commentary in the By Lawyers Domestic Violence guide has been updated accordingly. An alert has been added to draw practitioners’ attention to the likelihood that proceedings will involve audio visual appearances and evidence.