The A- Z of Family Law

In this week’s series on the A – Z of Family Law, Georgia takes a look at the letter H, covering the topics of Hearings and Hearsay.


There are many types of ‘hearings’ and court ‘listings’ you may be involved in when you are involved in court proceedings. However, Georgia considers in family law that there are three main types, as follows:

  1. Directions hearings – at these types of hearings ‘directions’ as to what is to occur to progress your matter are made. Unless consented to, usually no major or significant orders are made and these types of listings are administrative in nature.
  2. Interim hearings – these are hearings to determine issues that cannot wait for determination until the end of the matter. For example, such issues may relate to what will happen regarding your parenting arrangements until a final hearing, or urgent issues such as the sale of a house when neither party can meet the mortgage repayments. These types of hearings are conducted ‘on the papers’ which means that usually there is no oral evidence given.
  3. Final hearing – a final hearing is the ‘typical’ court process most people consider when they think about court. Hearings are also known as trials. It is the very final stage of a matter where a Judge determines the final outcome. Usually, most parties will have a lawyer (or two) in addition to a barrister (or two) appear for them at these occasions. Witnesses give oral evidence and are cross-examined at these hearings (unlike the other types of listings). Fortunately, less than 1% of matters go to final hearing.
Hearsay evidence – s 59 of the Evidence Act

Hearsay evidence is inadmissible in proceedings (subject to a long range of exceptions). Hearsay evidence is:

  1. Any written or spoken statements or conduct;
  2. Made outside the trial; and
  3. That is being used to provide the truth of the statement or conduct or a fact in issue.

Any such statements in a final hearing would be struck out as inadmissible. However, these statements are allowed in interim hearing affidavits. Accordingly, it is very important when preparing your evidence and Affidavits to ensure that an experienced solicitor drafts your documents for you.

Check out the other Letters in the A – Z of Family Law: