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 concerning a tort, or a claim for damages arising from a breach of contract, will involve different procedures to a civil dispute concerning a breach of the Residential Tenancy agreement.
When a person wishes to initiate a civil dispute, thus becoming the claimant, the Civil Division will provide a litigant pack which includes information and copies of Form 1: Claim. This form is the form used to begin a civil dispute. Conciliation conferences are a mandated part of the civil litigation process. It is part of the Case Management process at the Magistrates Court to minimise court time and also the expenses of the parties. There is more detailed information on the civil litigation process and what is likely to happen during your civil litigation process at the Magistrates Court website.
The Magistrates Court has a statement about what kind of advice they can provide. They state that the mission of the court is to serve the community by providing access to an accountable independent and impartial system of justice administered according to law. The court is happy to help you if it can. However, it must be fair to everyone so there is a limit to what a magistrate or court representatives can say or do. The Magistrates Court website provides the following information:
- We can provide you with a list of local lawyers or the telephone number of the Law Society of Tasmania’s referral service.
- We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
- We can give you general information about Court rules, procedures and practices
- We can provide Court schedules and information on how to get a case listed.
- We can give you information from your Court file.
- We can give you samples of Court forms that are available.
- We can usually answer questions about Court deadlines and how to work them out.
- We cannot tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
- We cannot tell you what words to use in your Court papers. However, we will check your papers for compliance, e.g. signatures, correct Court location, correct case number.
- We cannot tell you what to say in Court.
- We cannot give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to Court.
- We cannot talk to the Magistrate for you.
- We cannot let you talk to the Magistrate outside of Court.
- We cannot change an order made or signed by a Magistrate.