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Committal proceedings determine penalties for a party who does not comply with a court order to do, or to stop doing, an act within a specific time.
This page is for matters that the Rules of Court 2014 apply to. For content relating to matters that the Rules of Court 2021 apply, click here.
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About committal proceedings
The purpose of committal proceedings is to penalise a party for non-compliance with a court order or judgment (contempt of court) and to maintain the dignity and authority of the court.
When to consider
A party may consider applying for an order of committal against another party if:
The other party does not do an act within a specific time even though required by an order or judgment.
The other party continues to do an act even though required to stop within a specific time by an order or judgment.
If you are filing the application to start committal proceedings, you are the applicant.
Apply for leave of court
You will need to apply for leave (permission) of court to make an application for an Order of Committal.
If the other party's non-compliance with a court order or judgment occurs in an ongoing matter, you may apply for leave by filing an ex parte Summons for Leave to Commence Committal Proceedings . If not, you should file an ex parte Originating Summons (OS).
The ex parte OS or summons must be supported by:
An affidavit containing evidence verifying the facts stated in the statement you are relying on.
The statement should contain:
The name and description of the applicant.
The name, description and address of the other party who did not comply with the court order or judgment.
The reasons for applying for the Order of Committal.
How to file
You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer.
After the summons is filed, you have to serve the following on the other party who did not comply with the court order or judgment personally at least 8 days before the date of the hearing:
The OS or summons (that is, the application for leave).
The supporting affidavit
The order granting leave.
The application for the Order of Committal.
You will also have to attend the hearing on the date scheduled by the court, as stated in the application for the Order of Committal.
At the hearing, the court will hear both parties before deciding whether to make an Order of Committal. Depending on the facts of the case, the court may either impose an imprisonment sentence or a fine or both on the party who did not comply with the court order or judgment.
The information here is for general guidance as
the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.