Service of documents

Follow this procedure when serving Children’s Court documents.
Document ID number 1220, version 2, 1 March 2016.

All applications to the Children’s Court must be served on the relevant parties. This procedure applies to all applications (protection application, applications for a care by Secretary order, long-term care order and permanent care order and applications to breach, vary, revoke or extend). 


Case practitioner tasks

  • Consult a legal officer.
  • Serve a copy of all applications on the child (if over 12 years) and the parent(s) either directly in person or by registered post.
  • Swear or declare a Affidavits and statutory declarations.
  • Service by notice must be made at least five clear days before the hearing, except for applications for interim accommodation orders (IAOs). Applications for IAOs must be served with reasonable notice, which generally is considered to be 24 hours, but may be less with agreement.
  • Make genuine and reasonable efforts to locate and serve all parties, including at a minimum:
    • enquiries at the last known address
    • a search of the telephone directory
    • enquiries with the relevant family
    • check with the Electoral Commission.

Checking with the Electoral Commission may not be possible for applications made by emergency care and must be conducted as soon as possible after the initial hearing.

  • Document all efforts and attempts to serve all parties.
  • If you are unable to locate and serve all parties prior to the hearing, you must serve them outside the Court on the day of the hearing (if they attend court) and then complete the affidavit of service.

Service by hand

  • You must personally deliver a true copy of the application to the person.
  • Do not leave documents in the letterbox or under the door of the last known address, as this may breach privacy and will not effect service.

The information privacy principles states that ‘…personal information must be protected from misuse, loss, authorised access, modification or disclosure’. Leaving court applications at a person’s home or with another person cannot ensure a person’s privacy is protected and therefore should not occur in any circumstance. 

  • You may have a ‘process server’ or a colleague serve the application on your behalf.  They will need to complete an affidavit of service.

Service by registered post

  • Confirm the name and address of an intended recipient.
    • You may telephone or send a letter asking the person to contact you to confirm their address before sending the material.
    • If no response is received to a letter requesting contact confirmation, consider asking the Court to dispense with service for that individual until they can be located.
  • You must either:
    • personally take the application to the post office and post it by registered post, or
    • send by registered post via the internal mail system.
  • If using the internal mail system you must:
    • speak to the person responsible for mailing on the day and alert them to the documents
    • confirm that they agree to note the time of post and agree to complete an affidavit of service, and
    • complete the details on the affidavit relating to the client’s name, address and the type of application, leaving the other details blank for the person completing service to enter before they sign the affidavit.

Failure to follow the above procedure may result in the Court refusing to hear your application and/or costs being awarded against the department.

The Court can make an order to dispense with service of an application, document or order to an individual if satisfied by oath or affidavit that the individual cannot be located after reasonable efforts or there are exceptional circumstances. See Dispensation of service.

Service by facsimile

  • Service by fax is only valid when the Court is satisfied that service cannot be promptly effected in any other manner (for example, when a parent is in gaol, in which case the prison officer who delivers the fax to the prisoner would swear/declare the affidavit of service).

Supervisor tasks

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