AVOs – What are they and how do they work?

Headshot of Dan Daley - Solicitor at Everingham Solomons TamworthAn AVO is an Apprehended Violence Order. The relevant legislation that applies to AVOs is the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) (“the Act”).

Under the Act, there are two types of AVOs. The first and more common type is an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO). An ADVO applies when the parties in question are in or were previously in a domestic relationship. What constitutes a domestic relationship is outlined in section 5 of the Act, but suffice to say the definition of a domestic relationship is very broad.

The second type of AVO is an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO). An APVO applies when the parties in question are not connected by way of domestic relationship. A common example being two neighbours in dispute.

AVO matters are very common in the Local Court. For instance, in 2020 NSW Courts issued 37,981 final AVOs, with 33,830 being ADVOs, whilst 4,151 were APVOs. There is no doubt that an AVO can be a very useful tool to protect victims from violence. However, a short coming of the relatively easy application process for AVOs is that applications for AVOs are open to being abused. This sometimes leads to very minor incidents between parties ending up in Court, where these minor conflicts would be better resolved through less formal means.

When it comes to dealing with an AVO there are three main options. Firstly, the defendant can consent to the AVO on a “without admissions” basis. In plain English, this means agree to the AVO being made against them without admitting that they have done anything wrong.

A second option is to try to seek a mediated solution to the issue, commonly by way of written undertakings between the parties as to future conduct.

A third option is to oppose the making of the AVO and have the matter set for hearing. At the hearing it is for the applicant to prove to the Court on the balance of probabilities that he/she has reasonable ground to fear violence, stalking or intimidation on the part of the defendant. If the applicant can prove this, the AVO will be made by the Court. If the applicant can’t, the AVO application will be dismissed.

A final matter to consider upon the successful defence of a AVO is the recovery of costs. Costs in AVO matters are governed by s 99A of the Act. Costs are only to be awarded in AVO matters if the Court finds the application was frivolous or vexatious. Costs in AVO applications run by Police have further elements that must be satisfied.

If you have any AVO related queries please contact the experienced team at Everingham Solomons as Helping You is Our Business.

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Remote Witnessing is Here to Stay

Headshot of Jessica Wadwell - Conveyancer at Everingham Solomons TamworthCovid-19 has forced a lot of industries to adapt to a new way of business and the legal industry is no different. Limits to face-to-face contact has forced the development of technologies and laws to allow for remote witnessing of legal documents.

During the pandemic the NSW Parliament introduced temporary legislation to allow for the signing and witnessing of documents via ‘audio-visual link’ (AVL). It proved so successful that the recent passing of the Electronic Transactions Amendment (Remote Witnessing) Bill 2021 has now cemented the temporary measures into law.

AVL witnessing operates by the witness observing the client sign a document in real time over AVL. The witness then confirms having witnessed the signing by the client by either signing the document as soon as practicable after witnessing or signing an exact copy of the document. The witness further endorses the document by specifying the method of AVL signing.

Being a regional firm based in Tamworth and Quirindi and servicing the entire North West region, Everingham Solomons is welcoming this opportunity to better serve our clients. The ‘tyranny of distance’ has long been a frustration and now we are seeing the measures introduced to endure the pandemic producing long-term benefits for our clients.

People living in regional or remote areas, or those that may suffer from illness or mobility problems can now benefit from this choice and flexibility.

Everingham Solomons understands the need for access and flexibility because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Jessica Wadwell