Misconduct restraining orders (MROs)
When will the court make an MRO?
The court can make an MRO against someone (called the respondent) if they are likely to:
- behave in a way that would reasonably intimidate or offend you
- damage property that you own or possess, or
- behave in a way that is, or is likely to lead to, a breach of the peace, or
- commit an offence under The Criminal Code section 70A(2A) (this means commit an aggravated trespass on an animal source food production place - see below for what this means).
If the court is satisfied that without the MRO the respondent would be likely to do any of those things, it can only make an MRO if:
- you are not in a family relationship with the respondent, and
- having considered a range of factors, it is appropriate in the circumstances to make an MRO.
If you are in a family relationship with the respondent, you may be able to apply for an FVRO against them.
What is a 'breach of the peace'?
A breach of the peace is a legal term that describes disruptive or disorderly behaviour, such as:
- regularly yelling or shouting in public
- protesting in a way that prevents people from carrying out their work, or
- intimidating people who are trying to enter or use a public place.
What is an aggravated trespass under s70A(2A) Criminal Code?
Trespass is when a person goes on to private property without a lawful reason and without permission from the owner.
A person commits aggravated trespass under s70A(2A) Criminal Code if they:
- trespass on an animal source food production place (such as an abattoir, knackery, commercial dairy farm, egg farm, or other place where animals are reared or fattened for commercial food or egg production), and
- during, or as a consequence of, the trespass the person:
- interferes with, or intends to interfere with, animal source food production, or
- assaults, intimidates or harasses, or intends to assault, intimidate or harass, a person who works in animal source food production, or a family member of that worker.
Family member is broadly defined and includes any person regarded under the customary law or tradition of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
There are different ways a person could interfere with food production when trespassing on an animal source food production place. For example, a person could:
- have a negative effect on the biosecurity of a farm by having contaminated soil on their shoes
- release an animal or let an animal escape
- destroy, damage or steal property used in food production
- contaminate meat, eggs or dairy products
- cause a person to reasonably believe that these things have occurred, or might occur.
A court can make an MRO to stop a person trespassing and doing these things.
What restrictions can be included in an MRO?
An MRO can include whatever restrictions the court thinks are appropriate to stop the respondent from continuing the problem behaviour, such as:
- coming to or near where you live or work
- being at or near a certain place
- coming within a certain distance of you
- contacting or trying to communicate with you in any way
- committing an offence under section 70A(2A) Criminal Code.
If the respondent breaks any of those restrictions, they will be committing a criminal offence.
Reviewed: 9 February 2024