Family Court merger

On 1 September 2021 the merger of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia took effect so that we now have one ‘family court’ which will be known by the (not very original name):  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

Previously with the two courts there were two different sets of court forms, two different sets of Rules, two different sets of Judges and Registrars and two different processes depending on which court you were in which could be very confusing.

With the new Court, we now have one set of Rules, one set of forms and a streamlined case management system which determines how matters will progress through the Court. The intention is that matters will move through the Court much faster, although it remains to be seen whether this will be achieved in practice.

What you need to know:

  • A lot of the court forms have now changed;
  • The court process and the way that cases are managed is different;
  • There are new court events and new terminology;
  • Most cases will not come before a Judge until a final hearing. The early stages of litigation will be managed by Registrars;
  • All parties have to make a genuine effort to resolve the matter prior to commencing court proceedings which include:
    • Making full disclosure (information and documents);
    • Attending mediation (unless an exception applies) for both property and parenting matters; and
    • Exchanging offers of settlement.
  • There is a strong focus on compliance with court Rules, directions and Orders, including complying with timeframes for filing documents;
  • There is an emphasis on costs orders being made for non-compliance with the Rules, including for non-disclosure; and
  • There is a new national contravention list to deal with parties who breach court Orders.

The new Court and rules can be confusing and there is a lot of new information to learn quickly. There are also quite serious consequences for parties who don’t comply with the new Rules.  

Aubrey Brown Lawyers have an experienced family law team, including an accredited specialist in family law and a nationally accredited mediator who can assist you to navigate the new Court and the new Rules to ensure the best outcome for you and your family.

To book in with one of our specialist family lawyers, either contact our family law team on (02) 4350 3333 or email enquiries@aubreybrown.com.au

Share this post