1 Application & Objects
1.1 Why the Rules were introduced
On 28 February 2015 the Queensland Parliament, pursuant to the Magistrates Courts Act 1921 (Qld), introduced a set of rules known as the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Rules 2014 (Qld) (“the Rules”). The Rules were created as a result of amendments that were made by the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (“the JOLA Act”) and in particular by Part 15 of the JOLA Act which repeals the application of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) (“the UCPR”) to all domestic and family violence protection proceedings (except appeals).
Not all rules under the UCPR applied to the Act, so navigating between the UCPR and the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld) (“the Act”) became confusing and difficult, particularly for self-represented litigants. The Rules seek to simplify this for parties to proceedings.
The Rules which apply to proceedings in a domestic and family violence protection court (“DFVP court”) under the Act, except for appeals under the Act.
The main purpose of the Rules is to ensure that a DFVP court decides proceedings in way that is:
- consistent with the Act;
- resolves a proceeding in the most cost-effective way; and
- facilitates the just and expeditious resolution of the issues relevant to the proceeding.
It is also intended to provide for the practice and procedure of a DFVP court for a proceeding.
DFVP courts are to apply the Rules to ensure that undue delay, expense and technicality are avoided and the objects of the Rules are facilitated.
1.4 Failure to comply with the Rules
Failing to comply does not mean that a proceeding, document, step taken or order made in a proceeding is null – it will be considered an “irregularity.”
A DFVP court can make an order which deals with a failure to comply, if appropriate.
If a rule is inconsistent with the main objects of the Act or the principles for administering the Act, a DFVP court can waive compliance with the rule, or excuse non-compliance.
2 What the Rules Cover
The Rules address the following particular matters:
- How DFVP applications and change of address for service or email are to be filed, in particular which court to file in and how filing is effected;
- How parties receive notice of proceedings, in particular how service is to be effected (whether personal service, ordinary service and informal service), how service is to be proved, how to give notice of a proceeding to a named person, how to inform a police commissioner if a domestic violence order is to be revived;
- How proceedings are to be conducted, including what directions may be issued by a DFVP court, and in what circumstances an order is to be made or direction issued, revoked or varied and when such orders or directions are not followed, who may be a litigation guardian;
- How evidence in a proceeding is to be presented, including using evidence in other proceedings, the use of and requirements for affidavits, subpoena requests and requirements, setting aside subpoenas, compliance with subpoenas, costs of complying with subpoenas, and inspecting subpoenaed documents, access to documents, return of exhibits;
- How proceedings may be ended early by withdrawal; and
- How costs are assessed in a proceeding.
- A copy of the Rules can be obtained online.
If you are in need of advice regarding applying for a protection order, or advice regarding your options as the person against whom a protection order is made, our experienced Family Law Lawyers can assist you.