It is unusual for a judge to grant an order without having heard both sides - fairness requires that both parties have a chance to be heard. Therefore, the law usually requires you to serve a copy of an application for a court order on the other party (deliver it to them) a specified number of days before a court appearance.
There are exceptions to this general rule. For example, the Application for Case Management Order without Notice or Attendance lists some case management orders that may be made without notifying the other party.
And if an immediate protection order is necessary to protect you or a child and notifying the other party might create a risk, the judge can permit you to have a hearing without giving the other party notice. To proceed without notice, you will have to satisfy the judge that there is a real risk if notice were required before your application is heard.
Applications for other types of orders can generally only be made without notice to the other party if there are special circumstances like an emergency where the interests of justice or the protection of the person asking for the order or a child clearly demand an immediate court order.
Talk to a lawyer
It’s helpful to talk to a lawyer before making an application in court. If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer to prepare the documents and speak for you at a hearing, you may be able to get a lawyer through Legal Aid or get help from a Duty Counsel.
Choose the right court
The Provincial Court does not have the power to make an order and you must go to the BC Supreme Court if:
• Family law protection orders - info and step-by-step guide on Legal Aid BC's Family Law in BC website
• Get an order about a priority parenting matter - info and step-by-step guide on Legal Aid BC's Family Law in BC website
• Guide to Preparing for a Family Court Trial - page 19 – info on preparing to ask for a protection order
• How can I get an urgent protection order or set one aside? - Provincial Court eNews article
• How can I get a court order on an urgent family matter? - Provincial Court eNews article
• Guide to Preparing for a Family Court Trial, page 21 – info on preparing to obtain an urgent Family Law Act order without notice to the other party
Updated May 17, 2021