Dispensation of service

Dispensation of service
Follow this procedure when seeking dispensation of service of Children's Court documents.
Document ID number 1221, verison 3, 23 October 2023.

Where child protection seeks not to serve an application, document or order on a parent or another party or is unable to do so, then child protection must make an application to the Children’s Court via the CMS Portal for an order dispensing with service.

The Children’s Court may make an order to dispense with service in two situations:

  • if a specified individual cannot be located after reasonable attempts have been made, or
  • if there are exceptional circumstances.

Case practitioner tasks

  • See Service of documents and follow procedures.
  • Before determining that a parent cannot be identified:
    • Check the child’s birth certificate to see if parents are named.
    • Ask the mother or father. If you believe that the mother/father truly does not know the identity of the other parent, then the matter cannot be taken further. If however, you believe that the mother/father does not want to disclose the other parent’s identity, then you must be able to demonstrate that you have made a reasonable attempt to persuade the mother/father to provide the other parent’s name and follow up any other avenues, including speaking with the maternal/paternal grandparents.
    • Seek copies of any Family Law Court orders. See Verifying orders - advice.
  • Consult your supervisor if, after making reasonable attempts to locate an individual, you have been unable to locate them.
  • Seek approval of your supervisor or team manager to make an application to the Children’s Court for dispensation of service.
  • Consult the CPLO to make an application to the Court to dispense with service. CPLO advice is also required if you intend to apply for an order dispensing with service on the grounds of exceptional circumstances
    (s. 531(2)).

There is no definition or provision in the legislation of what is considered ‘exceptional circumstances’. Consult with the CPLO if you intend to apply for an order dispensing with service on this ground.

Evidence must be given to the Court by way of a written affidavit or via verbal evidence provided from the witness box. As there is no assurance that the Court will be able to accommodate evidence being given from the witness box, it is strongly advised that affidavits be prepared in relation to all applications for dispensation of service.

  • File the affidavit via the CMS Portal once approved by the CPLO prior to the hearing.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide support and supervision.
  • Decide whether to apply to the Court for an order dispensing with service.