People can represent themselves in court. However, the law and court procedure can be complicated.
Before deciding whether to represent yourself, think about whether you would benefit from being legally represented.
It is a good idea to obtain legal advice ahead of time about your case. Some lawyers can provide coaching, which is a way of helping you to help yourself.
If you are trying to decide whether to represent yourself or have already decided to do so, it may help to research information about the law and the particular court where your case will be heard.
These are some useful resources:
LawAccess New South Wales
give you legal information over the telephone
send you written information
refer you to another legal or related service
in some cases, arrange for one of their lawyers to provide you with telephone legal advice
LawAccess Online is also great starting point to search for information about the law and legal issues.
Telephone LawAccess NSW at 1300 888 529
LawAssist is a website that can help you if you have a legal problem in New South Wales and are representing yourself. It explains legal procedures and forms for court and tribunal cases.
The information it provides includes:
resources on a range of topics including debt (small claims); car accidents; Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) and fines
step-by-step guides to running your case
instructions for filling out court forms
checklists and frequently asked questions
information on alternatives to court
contacts for further information and advice
Legal Information Access Centre
Legal Information Access Centre at the State Library of New South Wales provides legal answers, in plain language, to everyday questions about the law. Law librarians at the centre can help you find legal information relevant to your issue. The library has an extensive law collection, including legal text books, law journals, legislation and law reports.
Court or tribunal websites
Consult the website of the court or tribunal where your case will be heard. Most jurisdiction websites have information that can help you to prepare for specific types of court cases.
Among useful web resources are:
Supreme Court guide to
Land and Environment Court
Facilities and Support
Before representing yourself, you need to find out about the legislation and rules that apply to your case. You can research:
New South Wales legislation at the NSW Government website
Commonwealth and other state and territory legislation at the
Australasian Legal Information Institute (Austlii).
Uniform civil forms and rules
Some courts in New South Wales use a uniform set of forms for civil procedures. The forms and guides for using them can be found at the
Uniform Civil Procedure Rules website.
Decisions and judgments
In some circumstances you might have to examine decisions to see how magistrates or judges have interpreted the laws and rules in similar matters.
For published judgments and decisions, see
Practice and procedure
Supreme Court practice and procedure
District Court practice and procedure
Local Court Practice Notes
Land and Environment Court practice and procedure
NSW Civil and Administration Tribunal practice and procedure
Dust Diseases Tribunal practice collection
Industrial Relations Commission procedures and legislation
As it can be difficult to know and understand all the laws and procedures that might apply in a particular case, it may be beneficial to consult a solicitor.
Can you bring a friend to support you in court?
You can have a support person sit with you in court. You need to ask permission of the magistrate or judge if you want a friend to speak on your behalf, and this is usually only at the hearing.
Legal Dictionary at LawAssist.
Get the latest statistics on criminal court charges and the sentences given from the
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.