Restitution hearings are currently only held in Parramatta at Victims Services premises. Hearings are listed in the morning from 9.30am and in the afternoon from 1.30pm.
There is currently no provision for hearings to be held outside Parramatta. At a future time it may be possible to hold restitution hearings by video conferencing technology.
If you do not wish or are unable to attend the hearing but wish the matter to go ahead in your absence, you may make written submissions as to why you should not have to pay restitution or should pay a reduced amount.
These submissions, together with any witness statements, statutory declarations, transcripts and the like, will be considered by the Tribunal Member when making a determination.
You will be advised of the Tribunal Member's determination in a formal restitution order that will be forwarded to you after the hearing.
The Director's Advocate will be available for a pre-hearing conference. However, whilst the Advocate can explain matters to you and assist you in any pre hearing conference and, if necessary, provide information about the hearing, the Advocate is not able to give you legal advice.
Similarly, staff members of the Restitution Section will be able to answer any questions you have about your matter but cannot give you legal advice.
The option is open for you to seek legal advice as to your liability to pay the amount outstanding or to assist you at the hearing; however, the cost of legal representation is not met by Victims Services.
You may bring along someone to support you or for company, however, unless the person is legally qualified, the person would not necessarily be able to represent you in the proceedings.
The restitution hearing is determined in accordance with the rules of evidence and in accordance with the practice and procedure of Local Courts exercising civil jurisdiction. You may bring witnesses or sworn statements or affidavits. The Tribunal will take any evidence you provide into account when making a determination in the matter.
In the first place you could contact LawAccess on 1300 888 529. They may be able to help you with some legal information or advice or they may be able to refer you to a Community Legal Centre for assistance.
Many legal firms provide pro bono (free) services to people facing minor legal proceedings. It may also be possible that the Legal Aid Commission of NSW will assist you with a restitution matter.
You could also call The Law Society of NSW on (02) 9373 7300 for advice about pro bono legal services in your local area.
You should telephone us to let us know of your disability and every possible assistance will be provided to ensure that you are not disadvantaged.
If you do not fully understand the provisional order or any of the information that has been provided to you, as English is not your first language, you should seek assistance from the Community Relations Commission of NSW on 1300 651 500. Victims Services will make arrangements for an interpreter to be available for a hearing if you notify us of your requirements prior to the hearing.
Before the hearing, each listed defendant has an opportunity for a pre-hearing conference with the Director's advocate. where settlement options can be explored and 'an arrangement' to pay an amount of restitution agreed, without the need to go before a Tribunal Member (a magistrate). These discussions are confidential and the resultant agreement is placed before the Tribunal member in the form of a 'consent order'.
If an arrangement is not made, the matter will proceed to hearing before a Tribunal Member.
The hearing will be similar to proceedings in any court.
At the hearing, the Director's Advocate will advise the Tribunal Member (magistrate) of the facts of the underlying award and the relevant conviction details.
The Tribunal Member will then give the defendant (or his/her representative) the opportunity to make relevant submissions which might include:
information about the circumstances surrounding the act of violence
any mitigating or culpability issues
information about the defendant's circumstances
anything else of relevance
Any evidence given by the defendant (or any testimonies of witnesses called by the defendant), is given under oath.
After the Tribunal Member has heard from both parties, he/she will make a determination in the matter and make an order as to the amount to be paid by way of restitution and the manner in which that amount is to be paid.
If the Tribunal Member is not satisfied that the conviction is relevant to the award of compensation, he/she must discharge the provisional order.
It is very unlikely that you will see the victim at a restitution hearing.
The victim is able to give evidence in the matter but cannot be made to give evidence.
The victim is aware that, as a result of his/her applying for compensation, restitution action will be taken against a convicted offender but no information about restitution proceedings is given to the victim or any other party (other than your legal or other representative).
If a matter proceeds to a Restitution Hearing before a Tribunal Member, the hearing is open to the Public. Exceptions would be if the defendant was a juvenile or was a person of unsound mind who had the Protective Commissioner appointed to manage their affairs. In all other matters, individuals would only be excluded if the Tribunal Member directed that they leave the Tribunal room due to their conduct or behaviour interfering with the running of the hearing. Or, if either party successfully sought an order at the hearing from the Tribunal member that the hearing be Closed to the Public.