What Registry staff can and cannot do
Until your case is heard by a Judge or Registrar, most of your contact with the Court will be with staff of the Court’s District Registries. Therefore it is important for you to understand your rights and responsibilities and what registry staff can and cannot do to help you prepare your case.
Most importantly, Registry staff are not permitted by law to give you legal advice.
What we can do
- We can briefly explain and answer questions about how the Court works, its practices and procedures.
- We can tell you what forms you may need to use.
- We can give you blank copies of Court forms. These are also available on the Forms section of this website.
- We can check your forms and other court papers for completeness (for example, we check for signatures, and that attachments are present and signed by an authorised person within your State or Territory).
- We can give you information about how to apply for an exemption from the payment of court fees.
- We can provide Court lists and information on how to get a case listed.
- We can give you information about how your case is managed and the processes involved in each step along the pathway to a hearing.
- We can give you basic information about mediation.
- We can give you information about interpreters.
- We can provide you with contact details of organisations which may be able to provide you with free or low-cost legal advice or assistance.
- We can give you information about Court-appointed referrals for legal assistance under Division 4.2 of the Federal Court Rules 2011.
- We can provide you with all of the above services in relation to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (previously the Federal Magistrates Court) except for family law matters.
What we can’t do
- We cannot give you legal advice.
- We cannot tell you whether or not you should bring your case to Court. We strongly advise you to seek legal advice before commencing a proceeding or appearing as an unrepresented respondent in a proceeding brought by someone else.
- We cannot recommend a certain lawyer to act on your behalf.
- We cannot tell you what words to use in your court papers such as forms and affidavits.
- We cannot tell you whether you have included enough information in your court papers.
- We cannot tell you what to say in court.
- We cannot tell you what the decision of the Court will be or give you an opinion about what it might be.
- We cannot explain orders made by a Judge or Registrar.
- We cannot let you communicate with a Judge or, if your case is being heard by a Registrar, that Registrar other than at the hearing.
- While registry staff can check your forms and other court papers for completeness (for example, we check for signatures, and that attachments are present and signed by an authorised person within your State or Territory), it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your forms and court papers comply with the Court rules and practice.
- You are expected to behave courteously when you are at Court and cooperate with any requests or directions from court staff.
- You are required to comply with any order or direction of the Court.
- You have a right to a prompt, courteous and efficient registry service.
- Timely decisions by the Court.
- To have your privacy respected.
Updated April 2013