Go to Family Court without a lawyer

If you’re involved in a Family Court case you might need to take part in a court hearing before a judge in a court room.

During a hearing the court can hear from witnesses – including you. If you don’t have a lawyer you’ll have to present your evidence and question other witnesses.

You’ll need to be aware of the Family Court Rules and the law that covers the case you’re involved with.

Find out more about Family Court legislation and the rules

Who can be in the court room with you

Your witnesses and friends will have to wait outside the court room.

Sometimes journalists can be in the court room. There are strict rules about what they can publish.

If you’re applying under the Domestic Violence Act, or the judge lets you in other cases, you can have a support person in the court room.

Find out more about how to act and what to expect in court

Help when you’re representing yourself in court

If you don’t have a lawyer in court you can ask the court to let you have someone at your hearing to help you with your case. They’re called a lay assistant (or a McKenzie Friend).

You’ll need to tell the court you want help in court before your hearing.

Both you and the person who you want to be your lay assistant need to fill in a form.

Fill in this form to ask the court if you can bring a lay assistant to the hearing:

Apply to appoint lay assistant form [PDF, 6 KB]

The person you want to bring to court as a lay assistance fills in this form:

Undertakings by proposed lay assistant [PDF, 7.6 KB]

You should submit these forms to the court where the hearing is to be held.

Find out what happens at a conference with a judge

Find out what happens at a defended hearing

Legal help when you’re representing yourself

Court hearings can be complex. Even if you represent yourself at court, you can get legal advice to help you prepare.

If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to get:

Back to top

This page was last updated: