Before the hearing

When you arrive at the court for your hearing, you should go straight to the registry counter to speak to the court staff. They will be able to tell you which courtroom your hearing is in. They will also direct you to the Legal Aid office if you want to see a duty lawyer.

Pleading guilty or not guilty?

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence you will need to decide if you are going to plead “guilty” or “not guilty”. Your lawyer will talk to you about this.

If you are pleading “not guilty”, the case will be adjourned to a later date. This will enable the police officer who charged you to attend the hearing. It will also give you and the prosecutor time to prepare for the case.

Ready to go ahead with the hearing?

If you need more time to prepare your case, or to seek legal advice, you may want to make an application for an adjournment. You should discuss this with court staff at the registry counter.

Do you need to see a Legal Aid duty lawyer?

Under the law, all young people appearing in the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court must be represented by a lawyer. Victoria Legal Aid has duty lawyers at all venues of the Children’s Court. Duty lawyers can give you legal advice and represent you in court. More information on duty lawyers is available on the Victoria Legal Aid website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may wish to contact the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

Do you need an interpreter?

Court staff can arrange for an interpreter to assist you on the day of your hearing. The court will pay for the interpreter. You should give the court as much notice as possible to make sure a suitable interpreter is available.