NSW Arrest Warrant for Missing Court Date - Is This Legal?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


6 August 2016
Docs has been trying to contact my partner with regards to the welfare of our one-year-old child, who is in perfect health except for a little bit of eczema on her legs which we have been to the doctor about and have been treating.

We are looking for a place to live at the moment and are currently residing at a friend's place until we can get our own. Docs sent a text message to my partner saying that if we didn't attend their office by 11am Wednesday morning 3/08/16, that they would be filing an order about our child's welfare to go before the family court.

We replied to this message informing them we would not be able to attend their office this day as we had already previous booked appointments to attend on this day, but also told them we would be happy to present ourseIves and our child to their office the following day which was Thursday 04/08/16, to which they did not answer back.

Unbeknownst to us they went ahead and made a court date for Thursday 04/08/16, the date we offered to present ourselves to their office. The next day, on Friday 05/08/16, a barrage of police and Docs workers showed up at our friend's place where we've been staying and said they have an arrest warrant for us for missing court.

Docs claimed they were unable to find us, so they went ahead made a court date without informing us and when we unknowingly missed the court date. All of a sudden, they magically know where we've been staying and they came and took our child and placed in the care of the minister and put my partner and me in jail for the night and most of the next day. All this for missing a court date we were never informed about.

Is this legal?

If they knew where we were to arrest us, why did they not serve us a court attendance notice in person? This can't be legal surely. I thought if you had no fixed address and you were required to attend court that you needed to be served a notice by the police in person, which we were not.

We were not given any written or verbal notice about a court date being set. Yet we were arrested for not attending. Is this legal?


Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
You're not gonna like this.

They told you that IF you did not attend their office they would apply to court. Your response was effectively to tell them that you had better things to do... I gotta ask what is more important than making sure Doc's didn't apply to court to have your kid removed from you? I personally can't think of a single appointment that I would have prioritised ahead of a meeting to prevent Doc's taking my kid from me....

So is it lawful - yep. They told you that they would apply to court and that is what they did. It was deemed by a court that your kid was at risk, so the cops etc did something to preserve the welfare of your kid. The court probably also ordered that the police do what ever necessary to locate you and they did that too...

So what should you do? Forget trying to find loop-holes in the system to try do defend your actions and attack theirs. Start doing what ever they require of you to get your kid back.... Arguing with them is not a productive method of achieving that goal.
  • Like
Reactions: SamanthaJay