What do I do about problem neighbours?

17 SEP 2020


With everyone spending a lot more time at home at the moment, difficulties between neighbours can arise. If a dispute with another person escalates to a point where you feel unsafe, you can be protected by obtaining an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO).

The Court can make an APVO for up to two years, if it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that:

  1. you fear another person being violent, stalking or intimidating you;
  2. your fears are reasonable; and
  3. the other person’s conduct is sufficiently serious to warrant a final APVO being made.

An APVO prevents the other person from assaulting or threatening you, stalking, harassing or intimidating you, or destroying or damaging your property. It can also include conditions preventing the other person from contacting you, going to specific places, or other conditions that might be required. Breaching an APVO is a criminal offence that can attract fines and jail time.

Police are able to apply to the Court for an APVO on your behalf, but you can also attend your nearest Local Court Registry, and staff can assist you to make an application yourself.

Once an application for an APVO is made, it will be served on the other person, and you will both be required to attend Court. At Court, a Magistrate may refer you to mediation at a Community Justice Centre, or they may make orders for you each to serve evidence on each other, before coming back to Court to set a date for the Hearing.

At the Hearing, each side will get the opportunity to give their version of events, and to cross-examine the other side, and then a Magistrate will consider all the evidence and decide whether a final APVO should be made. The Magistrate can also decide whether either side should pay the other’s legal costs.

If you are having problems with your neighbours, please contact our experienced criminal law solicitors by phoning 02 4626 5077, who can assist with all aspects of the APVO process.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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