Government of Western Australia State Coat of Arms
Children's Court of Western Australia
Government of Western Australia State Coat of Arms
Children's Court of Western Australia

Stages of a Protection and Care Case

Early Stages

The first hearing date is a "check in". The court will make sure of the following:

  • Everyone has had a chance to get legal advice.
  • All the necessary people have been served. That is they have the application and a copy of the report.
  • Everyone knows that the Department of Communities is involved.
  • How to deal with any urgent issues. That might be things like where the child should live and plans to see the family.

The case is not completed on the first court date unless everyone agrees on what should happen.

Middle Stages

There will be other court hearings for the court to check on the progress between the parties. Agreeing on plans for the child, and to see if there are any ways that help everyone to work together.

The following are some of the options available.

Dandjoo Bidi-Ak is a special court program that takes a cultural approach.

Case management for cases where certain issues need extra time with a magistrate to work out.

Care Plans and Written Proposals.

Pre-Hearing Conferences where parties come together in a mediation-style meeting with a registrar.

Adjourning, putting off the matter. The parties can then have a child protection mediation conference at Legal Aid.

Final Stage

If there is no agreement about if a protection order should be made the case will go to a trial.

The first step to a trial is to hold a Trial Allocation Hearing. The Trial Allocation List is usually before the President of the Children's Court.

At the Trial Allocation Hearing, the Court will look at whether the case is ready to be given trial dates.

They will also make directions. This tells everyone about when important paperwork for the trial has to be filed at the court.

Sometimes, there is also a Readiness Hearing before the trial. The Readiness Hearing is a final check to make sure that everyone has filed all their paperwork. That all the witnesses can be at the trial, and that everything else about the case is ready for the trial.


The trial can sometimes take several days. At the trial the court will hear evidence from the Department of Communities. They explain why there should be a protection order.

The other parties, including the parents, will also have the chance to give evidence. They can tell the court what they think should happen.

The magistrate dealing with the case may adjourn the case for a short time. So that they have time to think about all the evidence before making a final decision.

After hearing all the evidence, the court will make a decision. Whether to make a protection order and, if so, what kind of order.

If there are any Family Court Orders these will not change and will still apply. They are separate orders to the ones made in the Children's Court.

Last updated: 10 April 2024

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