Local courts are busy places, and knowing where you need to be and what you are required to do can be confusing. If you are attending Downing Centre Local Court or any other local court and need help and general advice on procedures, the court registry or registrar is usually a good place to go.
What is a court registry?
The court registry is the office at the local court where you can get forms, deal with a number of different matters and seek advice if you are unsure where to go or what the court process involves. The court registry is usually staffed with clerical staff and although they can give you advice about procedures and help you fill out legal forms, they are not legally trained and can’t offer any legal help or advice.
What can the registry help me with?
The court registry at Downing Centre Local Court can help you with a number of procedural and administrative matters including:
- If you are at the court for a hearing but are unsure where your matter is being dealt with, there will usually be someone from the registry near the entrance who can advise you where to go.
- Witnessing signatures on court documents.
- Helping you apply for an apprehended violence order (AVO).
- Give you information about legal proceedings and help you find the right forms.
If you require more in-depth information and assistance you can ask to speak to a registrar at the local court. A registrar is a senior registry officer who can provide you with advice on a range of subjects. You will usually need to make an appointment to see a registrar, depending on availability. This service is usually called a chamber service.
How can the chamber service help me?
The chamber service can help you with applications and forms for a range of different legal issues including:
- Apprehended violence order applications.
- Family law applications.
- Applications to start legal proceedings in civil cases.
- Family law recover orders in certain circumstances or in locations where there are limited other services to do this.
- Legal paperwork relating to civil cases, including defence and notices to stay proceedings and set aside judgement.
The chamber service can’t advise you on how to prepare a defence or what to say in a legal matter. Only a lawyer can give you legal advice or represent you in court but the chamber service can help you with the paperwork and make sure you have access to resources and information which may help you.
Do the higher courts have registries?
As well as local courts such as Downing Street Local Court, district and federal courts also have registries and registrars who can provide advice on procedures and documentation. The limitations are the same for higher court registrars as they are for registrars working in the local court.
Whatever the nature of your legal matter, if you need to attend court or file paperwork at the court house, speaking with a registrar can be extremely beneficial and can help you make sure your paperwork is complete and filed correctly. Make sure that you also seek legal advice if necessary however, as registrars can’t provide advice about how you should proceed with a legal matter or represent you in court.