On the day of your hearing arrive at 9.00am and check in with Registry on the 1st floor.
It is important that you attend your hearing. Failure to do so may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest, or your matter may be heard and determined without you.
If you cannot attend your hearing call Registry as a matter of urgency on (03) 9948 8600.
Before you arrive
The NJC is more than Magistrates' Court, it's also a place for people to meet case workers, get information, even hold meetings or host events. As such, you may be surprised the NJC doesn't feel like a court.
We hope you do feel safe and respected as soon as you walk through the doors.
To help you get the most out of your time at our Centre, here's some simple ways to get ready.
Visit us first
It's completely normal to be anxious about coming to court. If you are, take a tour of the NJC a few days before your hearing to do a practice run before your hearing.
We can show you around courtroom, show you the kiosk, sort out any parking/transport questions, explain the legal system and, if needs be, put you in touch with our support services.
Contact us on 9948 8777 to organise a tour or call Court Network and one of their friendly and trained volunteers will help you.
We will organise an interpreter, including for Auslan. To organise an interpreter call our court registry in advance on 9948 8600.
If you concerned about your safety at court, talk to us to get a safety plan in place.
You may use a Quiet Room, which only staff can access, and apart from when you are in court, you can stay in the room during your time here.
When giving evidence, you have the option to do so in court or by video link from our video room, which links you via video to the court. And when in court our staff will be with you. Your family, friend or other support can be in court too.
Our security team can also help you arrive and leave safely.
Call Registry on 9948 8600 to organise a safety plan.
Children at court
As safe and welcoming as the NJC is, court is not a suitable place for children. We encourage you to organise for someone to look after your children at home. If this isn't possible, bring friend to look after them.
If these options aren't possible, let us know when you arrive and we will put plans in place.
In the courtroom
What to wear
- Men: wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and closed toe shoes, or runners.
- Women: wear long pants, or knee length or longer skirt, a top with sleeves, and any footwear but thongs.
Dressing for court extends to lawyers and court staff who show their respect to the court and to you by also dressing appropriately.
Our Magistrate and lawyers speak in plain, easy to understand language. In this way, everyone understands what's going on.
But if you don't understand what's happening, your lawyer or our staff will answer your questions so you have all the information you need before you leave.
Like all courts, there are a few expected manners that everyone, including police, lawyers and visitors, need to follow:
- Bow your head to the Magistrate when you enter and leave court
- When the Magistrate enters or leaves, the bench clerk will say “all rise”. Everyone must stand.
- Call the Magistrate ‘Your Honour’.
We do these things as a mark of respect for the law.
Who sits where
The accused person, offender or respondent sits at the bar table beside their lawyer. (Only people who are held in custody sit in the dock).
We want people to be part of what's going on, which is why the person before the court sits at the bar table and not, as in other courts, in the front row of the gallery. It may be overwhelming at first, but being front and centre of proceedings helps people understand,and be part of, the important decisions being made about them.
Friends, family and all other visitors sit in the gallery, the row of seats behind the bar table.
Like other courts, our Magistrates' Court is open to the public and we visitors are welcome watch the court in session.
Visitors can notes and sketches of proceedings but recording hearings on phones or recording devices is strictly forbidden unless the Magistrate or General Manager grants permission.
School groups: teachers and student must call us on 9948 8777 organise a tour first.
Court Network can also help you on the day. CourtNetwork volunteers provide anyone going to court with information about the legal process, help with navigating the justice system, and offer a comforting word when needed.
Our Salvation Army Chaplain also provides practical and emotional support before, during, and after court (including the sentencing period and jail).
The Chaplain helps people of all faiths, backgrounds, or sexual orientation.
We have a very handy system that we can use to keep you informed while you are here. It's called MyCase and a Court Network volunteer or our registrars can sign you up.
Even though you'll get handy reminders on your phone, it's is not an app so there's nothing to install/uninstall. Take a look at this short video (External link) to see how it works.
Filling in time
We'd like to say your matter will be heard on time, but you may wait longer than hoped. You're welcome to bring headphones to listen to music, bring a book, or a friend or family member for support.
Food and drink
You can enjoy free tea/coffee (or slightly posher coffee at $3.50) and a hot lunch for $7.50 at our kiosk, Just Delights.