While you may want to represent yourself in a case before a civil An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. or A body set up to hear and decide disputes, usually with less formality and less strict rules of evidence than in a court proceeding. – or you may be forced to do so for financial reasons – there are a number of important issues to consider.
Legal The amount charged by a lawyer for legal work. Lawyers can only charge the amount agreed with the client in a costs agreement or the amount stated by a court in its rules. The party who loses a case usually has to pay all their own costs plus most of the costs reasonably incurred by the other side. See also indemnity costs. of the other A person or organisation directly involved in a court case. Parties include the plaintiff or applicant, the defendant, and any third party added to the action, but not independent witnesses.
It is important to know whether or not you may have to pay the other side’s legal costs if you lose the case; this should be an important factor in deciding whether to go ahead with your case.
In civil courts and some tribunals, the losing party is likely to be ordered to pay the legal costs of the successful party. In some situations (especially in the Magistrates’ Court), these legal costs can be more than the amount involved in the dispute. Therefore, before deciding to pursue a case in court, you should get objective advice on the strength of your case.
VCAT does not (1) A standard set of working conditions, including pay rates, for a particular industry. (2) A court decision that a party receive compensation, such as an award of damages to compensate them for physical injuries. costs except in the specific circumstances outlined in section 109 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1998 (Vic).
The Social Money or property promised to be handed over as a guarantee for repayment of a loan, or as a guarantee that a defendant will meet their bail conditions. and Child Support Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is a cost-free The authority of a court or tribunal to hear matters brought before it, based on some factor such as area or law, amount of money claimed, or geographic area., meaning the tribunal has no power to award costs and each party is expected to pay their own costs. (See Chapter 5.1: Dealing with social security and Chapter 12.2 Appealing government and administrative decisions.)
Special rules and procedures
The legal system (especially the courts) is designed to have lawyers represent the parties involved in a dispute. Although, some tribunals encourage Presenting your own case in court without having a lawyer there to assist you., or even place limits on the types of cases in which lawyers can appear. Note that the procedures and rules used by different courts and tribunals vary significantly.
If you plan to represent yourself, make sure you get advice from a lawyer on what you have to do before your case is heard and what to expect at the The time and place at which a court or tribunal hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. (see Chapter 2.4: Legal services that can help).
Also, Justice Connect offers a self-representation Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence. to assist people who are representing themselves (see https://justiceconnect.org.au/our-services/self-rep-service). In particular, help is available for people who are self-representing in jurisdictions such as the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court, and for those with Non-criminal law. The area of law that covers disputes between organisations, companies or individuals, such as the law relating to contracts. Civil law is not criminal law or church law. It can include actions against the state. In discussions about the law in different countries, civil law means law based on the Roman law system, as opposed to our common law system. issues such as When a debtor who cannot pay their debts has their money and property taken over and managed by a trustee who uses it to pay back creditors. The debtor is then called a bankrupt. and employment law where the availability of free and low-cost legal representation is limited and the rules and procedures can be complex and difficult to navigate.
You should also speak to the staff of the relevant court or tribunal. They can inform you of any special rules and time limits relating to documents that must be prepared. It is important to comply with these rules: if the case is adjourned because you have failed to prepare the documents properly and on time, you might have to pay the other party’s legal costs.
Make sure you understand what sort of help is available from the court staff; for instance, they can advise on procedures, but cannot tell you how to argue your case (e.g. see ‘Magistrates’ Court registrars’ in Chapter 2.2: How legal aid can help).
If the staff at the court or tribunal are unwilling to assist you, you should explain politely and firmly that you need help and that you expect them to provide it. Also ask whether it is possible for you to observe other cases running in the same court or tribunal, as this A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. give you a good idea of what is likely to happen in your case.