The cost of an AVO can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, location of the court, legal representation, and length of the proceedings.
Prepare to spend between $3000 – $10,000 to defend an AVO at a final hearing.
Whether the people involved in the case hire a lawyer or represent themselves, it is important to be aware of the costs of an AVO in order to make informed decisions. This article will discuss the various costs of battling an Apprehended Violence Order and how to prepare a budget for them.
What Are the Factors That Contribute to the Cost of an AVO?
Understanding the factors that influence the cost of obtaining an AVO is essential for anyone navigating the legal landscape. Here, we outline the factors that contribute to the overall cost of an AVO.
The Complexity Of The Case
The case’s complexity is one of the main influences on the cost of defending against an AVO.
If the claim involves multiple parties, various incidents, or an extensive amount of evidence, it will likely be more complex and costly to fight.
In some instances, there might be expenses related to obtaining evidence such as medical records or witness statements.
In these situations, it may be necessary to employ a specialised AVO lawyer.
The Location Of The Court
The location of the court can also affect the price of an AVO defence.
Additional travel expenses may be incurred if the court is located in a remote area. In addition, hiring a solicitor in a major city may be more expensive than in a smaller town.
The cost of counsel is one of the most significant expenses associated with fighting an AVO.
If the people involved in a case decide to employ a lawyer, they will be responsible for the lawyer’s hourly rate and any other fees associated with the representation.
If the party chooses to represent themselves, they will save money on legal costs; however, they will still be responsible for submitting documents and appearing in court. These costs are typically less than hiring a counsel.
Remember, however, that representing oneself in court can be difficult and time-consuming. Additionally, one may not possess the same expertise as a solicitor.
Cost of Hiring a Lawyer
The cost of counsel is one of the largest expenses associated with fighting an AVO. Hiring a lawyer to represent you in an AVO case can cost between $3,000 and $10,000. The cost will depend on the lawyer’s hourly rate and the time they devote to your case.
Benefits of Hiring an AVO Lawyer
If you choose to be represented by a competent AVO lawyer, here are some of the benefits you will experience:
- Expertise in AVO cases: Lawyers who specialize in AVO cases thoroughly understand the applicable laws and procedures. They can assist in navigating the legal system
- Strong advocacy: A solicitor can provide effective representation in court. They can present your case persuasively, cross-examining witnesses and challenging the evidence presented. This can assist in obtaining a more favourable outcome in the case.
- Objectivity: Lawyers must provide objective counsel and advocate for their client’s best interests. It will ensure client’s rights are protected throughout the proceeding.
- Time-saving: Hiring a lawyer can help save time and effort. Lawyers can manage the legal paperwork, appear in court, and communicate with the other parties involved in the case
- Protecting Rights: An AVO can have severe repercussions, such as limiting the freedom of movement and association. A lawyer can help comprehend the consequences of an AVO and protect legal rights.
The Length Of The Proceedings
The duration of the proceedings will also affect the price of defending against an AVO. If the case is resolved promptly, the costs will be lower, whereas if it drags on for months or even years, the costs will be greater.
The duration of the proceedings will depend on several variables. This includes the case’s complexity, the availability of evidence, and the parties’ willingness to settle.
Who Pays an AVO Cost?
As discussed in our Comprehensive Guide on How to Get an AVO, there are two types of applications: police-assisted and private applications.
If the police are applying for an AVO, then there will be no cost to the Applicant or the PINOP.
There is also no cost to the Defendant for being part of the proceedings, however, the Court may mandate that one party pay the legal fees of the other at the end of a matter. Legal fees include lawyer’s fees and witness expenses such as conduct money.
Scenarios on Who Pays the AVO
According to 99 Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, Chapter 4, part 2, Division 4, if the Court decides to make a Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), the applicant can ask the Court to order the defendant to pay for the legal costs. The Court will make a decision based on what it thinks is reasonable.
If the application for an AVO is unsuccessful, the applicant will not have a chance to get legal costs from the other party.
Conversely, if the Court dismissed the request for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), the defendant could ask the Court to make the applicant pay their legal fees.
Dismissal of Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)
In the case of a private application, the Court may order the protected person to pay costs in the following scenarios:
- The application for an ADVO was frivolous or vexatious
- If it denied the application
- If a request is made for the applicant to cover costs, typically by the opposing party, the court may contemplate issuing an order for the applicant to fulfill this obligation.
In the case of a police application for an ADVO, the court may award costs against the police if these conditions are met:
- There is an inexcusable deviation from the reasonable case management of the proceedings, such as the officer making the application knowing it contained materially false or misleading information.
- When the police file the AVO application, the protected person cannot be ordered to pay costs.
The cost of an AVO when the Court issues its final order varies. The amount that the Court orders the police to pay may not be the full amount of the costs that the PINOP must pay to their lawyer. Costs may range between $2,000 – $5,000 depending on the matter.
Additionally, if the Court dismissed the application for an AVO, the defendant might seek reimbursement of their legal expenses from the police. In specific cases, we have effectively secured costs for our clients, which can vary between $2,000 and $5,000, contingent upon the specific circumstances.
Dismissal of Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)
Courts could award costs against the protected person if the APVO application were dismissed, for example:
- Submitted a frivolous or vexatious application;
- Neither the applicant nor the defendant appears in Court;
- Application has been withdrawn;
- Invalidity can be caused by several factors, such as naming the wrong defendant in the claim.
The Court awards costs that it thinks are reasonable.
Timeframe to Pay the Cost of an AVO
If the judge tells the party to pay the opposing party’s legal fees, the money should be sent to the court registry unless the judge tells the party to do things differently.
The money will then be given to the other person by the Court.
This payment must be made within 28 days; failing to do so may lead the other party to initiate legal proceedings to reclaim the amount.
Payment Extension for AVO Costs
If the party responsible for paying the debt requires additional time for repayment or to return the goods, they can request a stay of execution. This court order temporarily prevents the opposing party from enforcing the judgment debt.
Following the date of judgment, the other party has a span of 12 years to enforce it. Enforcement actions can occur concurrently through various methods.
Need an Experienced AVO Lawyer?
At Justice Family Lawyers, we understand AVO’s complexity and are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality legal advice and representation.
Our AVO lawyers and practitioners are highly experienced and knowledgeable in family law matters, and we are committed to helping our clients receive the best possible outcome.
Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.