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  • 23 Self-Representation
handbook symbol Tasmanian Legal



In what circumstances can a person represent themselves in civil and criminal proceedings? This chapter details the circumstances where a person can seek representation or advice from the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania as well as how self-representation operates in criminal and civil matters.


Legal Aid (assistance in getting and paying for a lawyer) is not usually granted for summary offences except where prison or other serious consequences are likely to eventuate. This means that for someone appearing in the Magistrates Court the options may be either representing themselves or payi...

Civil Litigation

There is detailed information on the Magistrates Court website about self-representation in civil litigation. There are several divisions to the Civil Division itself, and the nature of the dispute will determine the division to which a potential litigant will be referred. A civil dispute conc...

Preparing a Case

Organisations such as Community Legal Services or the Legal Aid Office may have educational material that will help the person prepare their case. If the person wants to plead ‘not guilty’ they may first want to talk to one of these organisations in case it is possible for them to negotiate wi...

What Happens in the Case Itself

Step One:  The Complaint and Getting the Court Date Persons who are charged with offences are called defendants. Defendants appear in court as the result of answering a summons, answering bail or being remanded in custody and being brought before a court. The initial process is as follows: ...

Factors to Take Into Account in Self-Representation

Everybody can weigh up the pros and cons of self-representation. Are you likely to go to jail? Is this a first and minor offence? What will be the impact of this on your life? Factors that need to be taken into account when deciding whether to self-represent include: The charge: is it a mino...

Checklist for Self-Representation

1. Obtain a copy of all charges against you 2. Consider whether or not you intend to (a) plead guilty or (b) not guilty Do you you wish to represent yourself? Seek legal advice if necessary to assist you to make that decision. Free legal clinics are available at Legal Aid and community legal se...

Self Representation in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court

Family Court and Federal Circuit Court – What’s the Difference? The Family Court is an arm of the Federal Circuit Court, offering alternative dispute resolution methods for resolving legal disputes and a pathway to divorce, including guidance on initiating applications and response to initiating...

Page last updated 19/03/2018

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