Misconduct Restraining Orders (MRO’s)

Misconduct Restraining Orders (MRO’s)

If someone you know behaves in a way that is breaching the peace or causing damage to your property, or makes you feel intimidated, offended or fearful, then you may ultimately need to apply to the Court for an MRO.

Please note that an MRO is distinct from both a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) and a Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO).

If the Court grants your MRO application there will be conditions imposed upon the person bound by it which are designed to modify his or her behaviour. The specific conditions will generally depend on the circumstances of the case but will typically place restrictions on certain types of conduct. An example is that in a case involving a neighbour repeatedly playing loud music until late at night a condition may be imposed that the music must be turned down by a certain time. Importantly, a condition can impose a restriction on a person to stop doing something that he or she would otherwise be lawfully entitled to do. An example of this is a condition restricting a person from being on or near premises where you live or work. Importantly, a person subject to an MRO can also find him or herself in breach of a condition if he or she encourages another person to engage in any of the restricted conduct on his or her behalf.

Applications for an MRO are ordinarily made to the Magistrates Court, or to the Children’s Court where the respondent is under 18 years of age. Unlike in some VRO or FVRO applications, you cannot obtain an interim MRO straight away. After you file your application, the court will ‘list’ it and set a future court date that allows time for the police to serve the application on the respondent. The initial court date is largely procedural and there is no substantive hearing of the issues (but you still need to attend otherwise your application will likely be ended in your absence). The Court will be more interested in knowing whether you wish to proceed with your application and how many witnesses may be called at a final order hearing so that it can schedule an appropriate amount of time to deal with the matter. It also presents as an opportunity to potentially negotiate a formal Undertaking from the respondent if it is appropriate to do so (which would ordinarily resolve your application pending the respondent’s compliance with the terns of his or her Undertaking to you). The second court date is normally the final order hearing, which is when witnesses attend and you provide your version of events to the Court (including supporting evidence such as photographs and documents) and explain to the Court why you require the protection of an MRO.

Ultimately, if the Court grants an MRO in your favour, then the person bound by it must comply with any conditions it imposes. A breach of an MRO is a criminal offence and the penalty is a fine of up to $1,000.

Finally, if you have read this far and think that you need some practical advice or assistance in relation to your situation, then now is probably the time to get in touch.

Austral Legal can help and we offer an initial discounted 30-minute SmartMove appointment for $80 by phone or in person at our office.

Bookings can be made online or simply by phoning our office on 08 9745 9550.

Once we have a handle on what is required, we may well be able to offer a fixed fee for any further legal services, giving you cost certainty from the start.

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