Getting advice: legal vs procedural

This page outlines the assistance our registry officers can and can’t give you at the court registry counter or over the phone.

In providing any kind of information, the court and court staff must remain impartial. They can’t take sides or help one party in a dispute present their court matter against the other.

Most importantly, court staff—whether legally trained or not—are not allowed to give legal advice.

What we can do

We can:

  • briefly explain and answer questions about how the court works, and its practices and procedures
  • tell you what forms you may need and give you guides to help you complete some forms once you’ve figured out what action you wish to take
  • give you blank copies of court forms
  • check your forms and other court papers for completeness (e.g. that signatures are correct and attachments are present and signed by an authorised person in your state or territory)
  • give you information about applying for a waiver or exemption from paying court fees
  • provide court lists and information on how to get a court matter listed
  • give you information about how your court matter is managed and the processes involved in each step to a hearing
  • give you basic information about mediation, and recommend that you seek further information on the Department of Justice and Attorney-General website and review the Dispute Resolution Branch material
  • give you basic information about interpreters
  • give you contact details for organisations that may be able to give you free or low cost legal advice or assistance.

What we can’t do

We can’t:

  • give you legal advice, even if the court registry officer is legally qualified. As the court is an independent body, we can’t provide legal advice to one party or the other. Seek legal advice from legally qualified lawyers; for example, contact the Queensland Law Society for a list of appropriate lawyers in your area
  • tell you whether or not to bring your court matter to court. We strongly advise you to seek legal advice before commencing a proceeding or appearing as an unrepresented respondent in a proceeding brought by someone else
  • recommend a certain lawyer to act on your behalf (refer to the Queensland Law Society)
  • tell you what words to use in your court papers, including forms and affidavits
  • tell you whether you’ve included enough information in your court papers, though we can check whether it’s signed correctly and all attachments are in place
  • tell you what to say in court; however, you should prepare for the court matter and write down what you’d like to say in court so you don’t forget
  • tell you what the court’s decision will be or give an opinion about what it might be
  • explain orders made by a judicial officer or registrar
  • change an order once the court has made it
  • let you communicate with a judicial officer, other than at the hearing.