Court procedure for MROs
Where can I apply for an MRO?
If you are applying for an MRO against:
- a child or young person between 10 and 18 years old, you must apply to the Children’s Court.
- an adult, you must apply to the Magistrates Court.
What happens when I apply for an MRO?
When you apply for an MRO, the court will set a date and time for the first hearing of your application. The court will send the respondent a summons to say that they need to come to court.
The first hearing will normally be a mention hearing. This is a hearing to check what each person wants to do about the application and get the case ready for a final order hearing (if necessary).
Witnesses do not need to come to a mention hearing.
The respondent may agree to the MRO at the mention hearing.
If your application is opposed, the final order hearing is where the parties (and any witnesses) give evidence in court and the court will decide whether it should make an MRO against the respondent.
If you want someone else to give evidence as a witness, you need to have them come to court for the final hearing. You should get legal advice if you need to summons a witness as costs may be involved.
You might have to wait before your case is heard, so you (and any witnesses) should plan to be at the court all day, even if the hearing is listed for a few hours.
What if I miss a court hearing?
If the applicant does not come to a court hearing (either a mention or a final order hearing), their application might be dismissed.
If the respondent does not come to court, the case may be heard without them and the court may make an MRO against them.
If you were not there when the court dismissed your application, or made an MRO against you, you may be able to have that decision set aside and ask the court to deal with the application again.
What can the court do about costs?
If the court makes an MRO, the respondent might be ordered to pay your legal costs. This can include court fees and some of the costs of hiring a lawyer if you were represented.
The court cannot order you to pay the respondent's legal costs unless your application was made without any good reason, or to harass or inconvenience the respondent.
How long can an MRO last?
If the respondent was not in court when the MRO was made, it needs to be served on the respondent before the MRO can be enforced. The police will serve the MRO.
Once it is in force, an MRO against an adult usually lasts for one year. You can ask for an order against an adult to be longer if you can show it is necessary. MROs against children can only last for up to six months. Orders can run for different times if they are varied or cancelled by the court.
- Court flowchart for MRO applications
- Infosheet: Responding to a restraining order application
- Infosheet: Preparing for a restraining order final hearing - respondent
- Infosheet: Representing yourself in a restraining order final hearing -respondent
- Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Misconduct Restraining Orders
- Children's Court of Western Australia - Misconduct Restraining Orders
Reviewed: 1 November 2023